Drunken Spammers beware …

I have a rare email address with one of the original big free email providers and I still use it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it gets a few hundred spam emails per day and, worse, it is frequently spoofed by spammers. Needless to say, I hate spammers more than most people because of the double whammy.

It was only with great pleasure that I got a chance to talk to a spammer directly, one-on-one, to threaten legal action. For whatever reason, a spammer decided to include a toll-free number (877-208-5642) in its spam email messages. The guy picked up the phone like this: “Hello, are you interested in a business loan?” As much as I wanted to unleash several years of pent up anger, I didn’t. I told the guy on the other end that he was spoofing my email address in his spam emails and if he continued, I would take legal action. He told me he would stop.

Needless to say, my next call will be to AT&T to track down who supplies the toll-free number. I will send that company a happy letter asking them to disconnect it and telling them if they don’t and he continues to spoof my email address that I will include their deeper pockets in any lawsuit I file. 🙂 Not to mention, it will be on notice and anyone else who might read this may choose to demonstrate those deeper pockets had notice one of its customers was an evil spammer and refused to take action.

Note: I’m not advocating that you call the spammer. For all you know, by the time you read this, he’s moved on to another toll free number. That said, should you choose to call up the spammer (877-208-5642), do so from pay or other public phone. Toll-free calls have a caller ID system that shows all incoming phone numbers, regardless of whether you told the phone company to block your number or not.

I received several dozen bounced messages with that toll-free number. Here is one such message. For sanity’s sake, I removed email addresses.

**********

The original message was received at Mon, 10 Sep 2007 08:33:23 -0700
from qmail2.iswest.net [10.0.2.1]

—– The following addresses had permanent fatal errors —–
<mcd@….com>
(reason: 554 5.4.6 Too many hops)

—– Transcript of session follows —–
554 5.4.6 Too many hops 28 (25 max): from <danny@…com> via localhost, to <mcd@….com>
Reporting-MTA: dns; canitscan3.iswest.net Arrival-Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 08:33:23 -0700 Final-Recipient: RFC822; mcd@….com Action: failed Status: 5.4.6 Diagnostic-Code: SMTP; 554 5.4.6 Too many hops Last-Attempt-Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 09:13:10 -0700

—–Inline Message Follows—–

No Hassle Business Loans!

If you have your own business and want:

  • IMMEDIATE cash to spend ANY way you like
  • Extra money to give the business a boost.

orried that your credit is less than perfect? Not an issue.

Just call the number below.

You’ll thank me later!

Call Free 1 [877] 2 0 8 5 6 4 2

24 hours a day, 7 days a week including Sundays and Holidays!

No Hassle Business Loans!

If you have your own business and want:

  • IMMEDIATE cash to spend ANY way you like
  • Extra money to give the business a boost.

orried that your credit is less than perfect? Not an issue.

Just call the number below.

You’ll thank me later!

Call Free 1 [877] 2 0 8 5 6 4 2

24 hours a day, 7 days a week including Sundays and Holidays!

UPDATE (9/13/07): The emails are still going out. AT&T was helpful and told me it isn’t the service provider for the number but the service provider code is ixc01, likely Excel Communications. Excel’s web site says that toll free calls from pay phones cost at least 35 cents each. It turns out ixc01 isn’t Excel’s provider code; however its staff was more helpful pointing me towards Broadwing Communications.

UPDATE (9/18/07): Broadwing is now Level3 which I contacted on the 14th. Their customer service folks seemed pretty cool. However, the spam email keeps going out and the toll-free number is still alive. I’ll need to call it again when I get a chance, likely Thursday afternoon. I understand it takes a while for things to wind through the corporatocracy but I figure a week should be plenty of time.

UPDATE (9/20/07): The number is still alive so I contacted Level3 again. I was redirected to someone in its Customer Service (I guess I wasn’t in contact with that department before). I also have been calling the toll-free number from the spam. I generally get an error telling me its voice mail is full. Today, I was able to get through and speak with two different people who both identified the company by name when answering. “Empire funding. Are you interested in a business loan?” Each person repeated the company name when asked. I also queried each person for the company’s address and was given an address on N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, AZ. One person gave me 201 as the street address and the other 205. No suite number. After a little research, I found out that 201 N. Central Ave. is the address of Chase Tower, tallest building in Arizona. JP Morgan Chase Bank has large offices there, along with the posh, private Arizona Club, Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and a number of other well known tenants. I was not able to find an online directory of tenants in Chase Tower, but I’m skeptical that a fly-by-night spamming loan company would be able to afford a high rent building. I also filed a complaint with the FTC.

2 thoughts on “Drunken Spammers beware …

  1. danny Post author

    Thanks for pointing out the bug. I use FF3.5 with Linux. I haven’t used IE to look at my site in a long while. I am not surprised a bug appears with IE. I just took a look and IE8 says I have an invalid char. It renders properly so I’ll leave it be. 🙂

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