Due to the prevalence of SPAM attacks, I have removed all "mailto:" references from my Web pages so that automated programs cannot take my email address from them. This makes it more difficult to send me email, but by the same token increases the likelyhood that email which I do receive will be from legitimate contacts. Abuse of the Internet's power has led to invasion of our privacy, as well as increasing the network traffic which leads to slower access times and higher costs.
SPAM is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. For detailed articles on SPAM, see spam.abuse.net and the Net Abuse FAQ.
(See also Netiquette Guidelines, RFC 1855)
See CAUCE (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email) for up-to-date information on anti-spam legislation.
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced a bill (HR 1748) in the US House of Representatives in 1997 called The Netizens Protection Act of 1997, which extends the ban on unsolicited junk FAXes (USC Title 47) to cover spamming. This bill was an "opt in" system, which means that you don't get spam unless you specifically ask for it. The junk fax law is 99.9% effective against junk faxes. Obviously, extending it to cover spam is the most simple and effective solution. Unfortunately, this bill has died in the 105th congress.
There are other bills that have been introduced, but most are opt-out systems, which basically mean that all spammers can spam everybody until everybody requests that they be removed from every spammer's mailing list -- an impossible task! Do not support any bills proposed by Senator Murkowski! His bills are designed to protect spammers, not private citizens!
Chain letters over the internet as well as via snail mail are illegal. For more information, see the US Postal Service page on chain letters. To report fraud where money is requested, you can send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pyramid schemes multi-level marketing (MLM) scams are illegal. E-mail the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com. In the UK, contact the Trading Standards Officer.
Many junk emails are illegal get rich scams. The National Fraud Information Center has an email address where you can report suspected scams. They have an Internet fraud division, and work closely with the Federal Trade Commission and State attorney generals. The e-mail address for general frauds is firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Taken from EcoFuture.)
The Post Office helps bulk mailers send mail to every address in an area (with addresses only - no names - on the mailings). The bulk mailer has to build up a list containing at least 90% of the addresses in a carrier-route. The Post Office will then supply the remaining 10% for a small fee so that the bulk mailer will reach everyone on the route. (See Domestic Mail Manual A920.4.4).
Here's how the master database of addresses for each carrier route is prepared: Each carrier prepares an "edit sheet" of all addresses on their route, and sends it to Atlanta for inclusion into the master list or addresses by carrier route. This database is updated every 90 days. So even if you were to get off the list, you would probably be back on it three months later.
Cary Brick, Staff Director Representative John McHugh 416 Cannon House Office Bldg Washington DC 20515-3224This contact was taken from "The U.S. Post Office", dated July 2000.
The following text is taken from the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 39 (Postal Service), Section 2022 ("Refusal of Delivery"):
The addressee may control delivery of his mail. The addressee may refuse to accept a piece of mail that does not require a delivery receipt at the time it is offered for delivery or after delivery by returning it unopened to the Postal Service. For mail that requires a delivery receipt, the addressee or his representative may read and copy the name of the sender of registered, insured, certified, COD, return receipt, and Express Mail prior to accepting delivery. Upon signing the delivery receipt the piece may not be returned to the Postal Service without the applicable postage and fees affixed.
According to that statement, this includes bulk or "saturation mail" - items which are labeled with your address, but not your name. Mark the junk mail "REFUSED" and return it unopened to the mail stream. Let the Postal Service know that you won't accept junk mail for which they are responsible!
I have also been told that you can post notice to your carrier that you refuse to accept certain mail matter. Affix a (laminated) notice similar to the following to the door of your mail box or adjacent to your mail slot:
I, Your Full Name, residing at Address, City, State and Zip, hereby declare my present and ongoing refusal to accept mail offered for delivery when such mail designates an addressee by 'category' or 'class' rather than by specific name. Such addressee 'category / class' designations being refused include, but are not limited to:HOMEOWNER OUR FRIENDS AT RESIDENT THE FAMILY AT OCCUPANT SMART SHOPPER AT
Sign and date
The following text is taken from the U.S. Code, Title 39, Section 3008:
Sec. 3008. Prohibition of pandering advertisements
- (a) Whoever for himself, or by his agents or assigns, mails or causes to be mailed any pandering advertisement which offers for sale matter which the addressee in his sole discretion believes to be erotically arousing or sexually provocative shall be subject to an order of the Postal Service to refrain from further mailings of such materials to designated addresses thereof.
- (b) Upon receipt of notice from an addressee that he has received such mail matter, determined by the addressee in his sole discretion to be of the character described in subsection (a) of this section, the Postal Service shall issue an order, if requested by the addressee, to the sender thereof, directing the sender and his agents or assigns to refrain from further mailings to the named addressees.
- (c) The order of the Postal Service shall expressly prohibit the sender and his agents or assigns from making any further mailings to the designated addresses, effective on the thirtieth calender day after receipt of the order. The order shall also direct the sender and his agents or assigns to delete immediately the names of the designated addressees from all mailing lists owned or controlled by the sender or his agents or assigns and, further, shall prohibit the sender and his agents or assigns from the sale, rental, exchange, or other transaction involving mailing lists bearing the names of the designated addressees.
- (i) For purposes of this section -
- (1) mail matter, directed to a specific address covered in the order of the Postal Service, without designaton of a specific addressee thereon, shall be considered as addressed to the person named in the Postal Service's order;
According to this law, you can request the Postal Service to stop delivery of any advertising material you find offensive. An article by Michael Worsham refers to a U.S. Supreme Court case, Rowan v. United States Post Office Department, 397 U.S. 728 (1970), which held that "The statue allows the addressee unreviewable discretion to decide whether he wishes to receive any further material from a particular sender" and that "A vendor does not have a constitutional right to send unwanted material into someone's home, and a mailer's right to communicate must stop at the mailbox of an unreceptive addressee." Ask for the USPS Form 1500 at your local post office.