Fighting spam with Spamcop

Most ISPs and antivirus firms offer spam filtering these days, though very few (if any) enable you to report the spammer to their ISP. Which is a shame, as not only is spam contrary to ISP terms of use, but often the content is fraudulent or otherwise illegal.

Child porn and other nasties, fake medicines, attempts to steal passwords or other personal information, avance fee frauds (known as 419 scams, allegedly after the relevant article in the Nigerian criminal code)… You name it, some creep has tried to pull it on you.

Most spam filters merely send what they think is spam to the trashcan or add a tag to the subject line, while more honourable ones such as Thunderbird have a filter that can be “taught” to differentiate between spam and genuine emails, and filter to a separate folder. However, this does not address the problem of spam itself and you’re still spending far too much time ensuring no false positives have been junked by accident.

This is where the excellent service Spamcop comes in. You get:

  • Free service! You can tip them a few dollars if you like, it’ll remove a “nag” page for a while
  • the ability to report spam directly to the ISPs concerned via a simple click
  • Report spam from all of your accounts
  • Less spam, in the long run

There’s probably more, but I don’t remember offhand. I’ve used the site for several years and I swear by it to deal with the dozens of spams I received daily at one point. OK, you still have to sift through your inboxes to check nothing’s been sin-binned by mistake (remember to educate friends who think it’s smart to send old jokes to a long list of contacts), but then you can send the spam to limbo and its perpetrators to Gehenna with a simple click, a smile on the lips and music in the air. It’s a most satisfying revenge, and although spam will be profitable as long as there are greedy idiots who really do believe you can get something for nothing, the service has contributed to getting some major spammers shut down (or away) for good.

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Updated March 2015 after changes to the service
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