How to Report Spam Abuse

Spam is as prolific as the leaves on the trees and because there are so many kinds of it, it is a challenge to find the right site or organization to report spam to.
Each type of spam will violate the law in one way or another and each can be prosecuted if it can be proven.

Saving and sending the entire email header is an important step in reporting spam. The header of every email you receive will contain information on the full chain of computers through which the email passed in order to get to you. Generally, most email will pass through at least four computers: The spammer’s computer, the spammer’s ISP, your ISP and finally your computer. This is the most reliable way for an anti-spam service to track down the spammer’s ISP because the spammer will camouflage the “from” address.

As the email passes through each computer, information is added to the header indicating who the mail came from, as well as where they are sending it. While this header information will seem complicated, you just need to make note of the originating ISP, which will be easy to recognize. For example, if you receive your mail through AOL and you note “yahoo” in the string of information, then you will know to report the spam to yahoo.

To read the information in the email header, just right click on the email, choose properties and then either “options” or “header” depending on your email program. Then cut and paste the header path in its entirety, into the body of the email. Finally, forward the spam email first, to the spammer’s ISP, and then next to spam reporting agencies

You should also forward the spam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can do this at the website: While the FTC will not take action on individual incidents, they will add the spam to a database reffered to as UCE (unsolicited commercial email)

A common spam scam you may come across is called a “419 Scam”, or the Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud. These spam emails generally relates a tale of woe – a death in the family and a huge inheritance that the sender needs your (financial) help to claim. As improbable as it sounds, many people have fallen for this scam and millions of dollars have been defrauded from them. Fax a copy of this spam along with the header information to the United States Secret Service.

Here is a list of the agencies you may report spam to, along with the type of email they can handle or will deal with.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). – This site offers you information about the law enforcement actions that have been taken against deceptive mailers and companies and those who do not honor opt-out requests from email recipients..
This is a third party reporting agency.
Another third party agency which will report spam on your behalf to the relevant anti-spam agency.

For stock fraud, email the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at . They are prosecuting however they are only able to deal with fraud in email that has to do with stocks and bonds.