The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Friday, August 25, 2006

Where are they now: Murkowski

Alaska governor Frank Murkowski, the author of S.1618 which would have made spam legal provided it followed certain rules has lost the G.O.P. primary, coming in third.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More spammers headed to the slammer

Courtesy of this press release, United States Attorney Carol C. Lam announces that a San Diego grand jury has indicted spammers Joshua Edward Eveloff and Michael Steven Twombly on three counts of conspiracy and fraud.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

World Spam News

Newslab of Siberia reports that Spam is now prohibited in Kyrgyzstan.

Thanhniem News of Viet Nam reports that cell phone spam is now banned by the Vietnamese government. Actually, it's a bit weaker than that — cellphone users are given the option to refuse a message, and if they do, the advertiser must not send them more spam for at least five days. Of course, the spammers will simply create a number of shell companies and have the spam come from a different one each day. Or each hour.

TechDirt reports that VOIP has made international calling cheap enough that phone spammers are using internation calls to circumvent the do-not-call list.

Infotech reports that the National Telecommunications Commission has created a team to deal with SMS spam.

WhatPC magazine reports that British Telecom is taking proactive steps to fight spam. This includes probing the mail systems of other sites to check their security. Not surprisingly, the article goes on to say that over 50 percent of spam comes from about 20 ISPs, and that one expert estimates that 80 percent of spam comes from compromised computers.

I'm starting to notice a pattern here. It seems that everybody is doing something to stop spam except the U.S..

Pump-n-Dump spammer faces SEC fraud charges

From Easy bourse - NEWS comes a report of scammer Jeffery Stone and his wife Janette Diller Stone facing serious SEC charges for buying 288 million shares of WebSky Inc, fraudulently touting WebSky's business prospects, including via email spam, and making $1 million.

Not surprising, all of this happens four years after Stone was released from prison after being convicted of securities fraud.

Friday, August 18, 2006

EV1/ThePlanet takes action against spammers

Or claims to anyway. On Monday, Chris Newcomb, the Abuse Department Manager of EV1 send a message to the group announcing that,,, and were no longer on their network and would SPEWS please remove the EV1/ThePlanet listings.

Newcomb has announced that he's the new manager of the EV1 abuse desk, and although he can't speak for the previous administration, it looks like there's a new sheriff in town.

On the flip side, one poster points out that EV1 is still hosting such gems as and and many others.

Still, it is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

AOL to dig for treasure on Davis Wolfgang Hawke's parents' property

(Via Slashdot). Last year, AOL won a $12.8 million dollar judgement against spammer Davis Wolfgang Hawke who didn't show up for the trial and can't be reached by AOL.

So, knowing that Hawke purchased large amounts of gold and platinum specifically to hide his assets from lawsuits, AOL obtained a court order allowing them to search the house and dig up the 2-acre property of Hawke's parents in Medfield Massachusetts.

Hawke's parents insist that the treasure isn't buried on their property, and suggest that Hawke buried it in the White Mountains, 130 miles to the north.

For the full story, see CNN article With shovels, AOL looks for retribution.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New link: Spam Reporting Addresses

I've added a new link to my "links" list on the left:

This is a wonderful reference that helps you figure out where to send complaints about various forms of network abuse. It contains dozens of useful references, tutorials and much, much more.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Wanna don't

I wish I could take credit for this headline, but it's courtesy of fellow spam-fighter Neil Schwartzman, who reports that Hotmail seems to have blocked *all* email from perennial European spamhaus Wanadoo.

Perhaps not as exciting as the time that Netcom blocked itself, but it's interesting to see an entire major ISP blocked by another for spamming.

Although Wanadoo never managed to get themselves indexed in my spam tracking page, they have managed to be a chronic low-level source of spam on the internet for nearly a decade. A quick look at shows wanadoo-sourced spam as recently as today.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Michigan Attorney General goes after spammers who spam children

From this morning's San Jose Mercury News: The Michigan attorney general is charging two companies with violating Michigan's do-not-spam-children registry.

The two companies charged are RR Media Inc. of Cathedral City, Calif., and Data Stream Group Inc. of Bonita Springs, Fla.. The two companies were sending ads for casinos and alchohol to children in violation of the Michigan Children's Protection Registry.

I wish the AG luck with the suit, but I can see three problems with it: First, is the issue of jurisdiction. Second is the validity of the do-not-spam-children registry which has no doubt been poisoned with the addresses of people from out of state and adults who don't want spam either. And last but not least, the fines faced by the spammers are a light slap on the wrist.

Still, it will be interesting to see how this case goes.

Full story: Michigan attorney general charges companies with e-mail violation.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

No new addresses were added to your paypal account

Anybody who reads this blog is probably too savvy to fall for it, but spread the word anyway: There's a new phish being spammed to hell and back right now, telling you that a new email address was added to your paypal account, and if you don't like it, click a link. The link, of course, leads to a phishing page.

Monday, August 07, 2006

$2m 419 spam scammer in the slammer

And one more quickie before I sign off for the night: Amsterdam police say that they've jailed the ringleader of a 419 scam gang. See vnunet article $2m 419 spam scammer in the slammer.

Money laundering scam -- Swiss Invest

A new scam spam is making the rounds lately (new to me, anyway). In this scam, you're contacted out of the blue by someone calling themselves "Swiss Invest" (not to be confused with Swiss Invest Centre). The scam email asks that you act as their "financial manager". The job entails accepting wire transfers into your personal account and then sending postal money orders to their "clients".

In other words, it's a money-laundering operation.

You can learn more about it in this article from the Westeran Australia consumer protection department and this detailed explanation from

One blog commentor writes that this is the work of known spammers "Ruslan (Send Safe virus writter and botmaster), Leo (List gathering and spamming), Dean Westbury (Linked to Mike Van Essen, Shane Atkinson ChCh), and one Kiwi.

Joe Wein has these very important points to make:
  • No legitimate company will use bank accounts of private individuals for processing payments from its customers.
  • No legitimate business will pay 5% and more for international money transfers (for example, $250 out of $5000), when banks provide such services for only $30-50 per transaction and businesses and individuals can set up their own bank accounts in other countries if needed.
  • No legitimate company uses private individuals to receive parcels and remail them.
Any job offer that involves any of the above activities is a fraud!

Gartman and McDowell sentenced to federal prison

Rape porn spammer Tom Gartman was sentenced on obscenity charges July 27, along with his brother-in-law former Houston cop Brent Alan McDowell.

Gartman first surfaced on my radar in 1998 when he was spamming usenet with advertisements for rape and torture porn videos. Alt.sexual.abuse.recovery was one of the newsgroups he spammed.

Gartman advertised a web site hosted by which PSI allowed to operated unfettered until at least June-November 1998 when UDP discussions begain. At that time, PSI moved Gartman to another block of IP addresses but took no other action. Finally, in early November, on the eve of a full UDP, PSI began to remove spammers, including allegedly, Gartman. In late November of 1998, Gartman posted to usenet to brag that PSI had never so much as written him a letter asking him to stop, and were in fact asking him to come back.

In 1999, Gartman attempted to sue fellow spam-fighter David Ritz and threatened to sue me for interfering with his porn spam business.

Interestingly enough, in his letter to me Gartman wrote
I have model releases and copyrights to sell these tapes.
Later it was learned that the porn he was selling had been stolen, so there was no way there could have been any model releases in his posession.

In October, 2001, Qwest was forced to disconnect his Fort Worth provider,, in order to get their attention to make them do something about Gartman.