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Tracking Harvesters/Spammers

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 Educating lead purchasers
Author: R.Hughes   (21 Nov 04 2:51pm)
For a while, I was responding to some of the refinance spam messages.
I would "Click Here" and be taken to a website form asking for mortgage
information. I would provide my real name & phone number, and would
NOT provide a real email address (instead I would enter something like
"" to satisfy the form gods). For the home address,
I would provide a street name corresponding to the email sender. For
example, if the spam email was from "Joe Conrad," I would provide an
address like "123 Conrad Street." Then I would put the email in a folder
containing just the messages I responded to.

Within a few days I would get a half-dozen or so phone calls from real
mortgage brokers asking if they could help refinance my house. Almost
invariably, these real human beings were unaware that the money that
they were spending to buy leads was financing spam operations. They
would say (sincerely) that they were CERTAIN the leads they were buying
were from people filling out forms on the web. I would patiently explain
that that was true, but that it was spam that got people to the website
form in the first place. Then I would ask them what the address was
on their lead. When they said "123 Conrad Street" I would search my
mail folder for "Conrad" and then tell the poor mortgage broker where
the spam came from (Russia, or China, or Switzerland, or wherever
the email headers indicated the mail came from). I asked why the
so-called "legitimate" lead company they were purchasing leads from
would send email promoting their website from a faraway land.
No idea. Then I would explain how computer viruses allow spammers
to hijack remote computers to send email from, and why spammers
hijack foreign computers (to circumvent domestic laws).

Understand that these real human mortgage brokers suffer from spam,
AND from computer viruses. Once they realized that the source of their
spam & malware pain was the same community from which they were
purchasing leads, and that they themselves were actually providing the
$$$ (by purchasing leads) that made the whole machine operate, they
would often become angry and feel duped. In concluding the conversation,
I would refer them to spam education sites where they could get more
information about the problem.

I am hopeful that many of these brokers would then cease doing business
with the spammer. Along the way, I did discover that mortgage leads sell
for $30 ~ $40 EACH!

If you try this, always be courteous to the person that calls you.
Remember, "We're all in it together!" (Harry Tuttle)

Good luck!
 Re: Educating lead purchasers
Author: J.Wallace   (15 Jan 05 4:53am)
Assuming the 'legit' mortgate providers arn't lieing to you, that thats an extreamly effective way to fight spam.

Do you keep track of which mortgage brokers call you so you can check for repeat offenders?

It's also worth while bringing this idea to the attention of law enforcement - it's easy for them to do the same thing (it dosn't require much tech savvy on there part), and that way they can start following the money and arresting people.
 Re: Educating lead purchasers
Author: M.Mumma   (1 Feb 05 2:28am)
I've made a career of this very practice. I have documented my results at

Take a look at


in particular.
 Re: Educating lead purchasers
Author: W.Keeley   (13 Jun 07 2:55am)
With Voip and other ways of getting a free or very cheap telephone numbers, we can easily mak live miserable. I signed up with the Gizmo Project and got a free Nevada voicemail number.

I changed the outgoing message to this, "Hello, you are calling this number because you bought a lead that was generated from the transmission of unsolicited email. This number is NEVER given out except to websites advertised VIA SPAM." I have been getting 10's of calls per day from only about 3 website postings. For each posting, I use a different name, so that I can keep track of which websites are selling the leads. With Gizmo Project and other cheap VOIP services, a telephone number with unlimited call in can be purchased or rented a few months for less than $13.

These are just some of the callers I have had:

QUICKEN LOANS work called from 734-805-5000 in Livonia, MI and left a 5 second message.

QUICK LOANS INC work called from 248-731-2000 in Birmingham, MI and left a 32 second message.

Ric Reyes home called from 702-240-5990 in Las Vegas, NV and left a 13 second message.

800-630-3017 called and left a 11 second message.

NOVASTAR work called from 816-237-7000 in Kansas City, MO and left a 23 second message.

QUICKEN LOANS work called from 734-805-5000 in Livonia, MI and left a 4 second message.

800-819-7010 called and left a 2 second message.

NOVASTAR work called from 816-237-7000 in Kansas City, MO and left a 2 second message.

XPRESS FIN work called from 562-428-5365 in Long Beach, CA and left a 2 second message.

800-819-7010 called and left a 2 second message.

DELTA FUNDING C work called from 702-352-9160 in Las Vegas, NV and left a 60 second message.

There are many, many others. Honeypot telephone numbers are another good way to drive up the cost of spamming.
 Re: Educating lead purchasers
Author: S.Enbom   (14 Jun 07 5:06am)
A very interesting read, thank you.

I'm sure a handful of determined people can really make a difference in this insane spam-war, albeit there are bigger battles to be fought in this global war against selfishness.

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