Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Being screwed over by spammers

Those of you who have been reading for a few months may remember that back in October some idiot spammer used my domain’s email addresses as return addresses in spam. This resulted in over 20 000 messages from servers, saying that “my” message was spam and had been rejected, or that the email address didn’t exist – at times, several were arriving every minute. The problem has now gone away but it took a couple of months before my inbox returned to normal levels.
This isn’t a one-off however – it happens to many people, including one Michael Pollitt who wrote about his experience of it in the Guardian on Thursday. Though the attack on him was slightly different – his name and email was used to spam guestbooks for pay-per-click spam – it still meant that he got hundreds of emails.
If you’re on the receiving end of this kind of attack, using your email becomes very difficult since you have to sift through all of the failure messages – I wouldn’t be surprised if I inadvertently deleted or missed some important emails during that time. It also strains your mail server and can put you in a difficult position if you don’t have a very understanding host.
Unfortunately, spammers are among the worst of the earth’s scum and as long as they keep on spamming people will suffer like this.


  1. Not ideal either, but I’ve trained my spam filter on these messages. Most of these undeliverable etc messages now go into my spam folder.
    Especially as another one of my domains is being hit at the moment and I had forgotten to turn the catch-all for that domain off. I have now, so it’s quiet for now.
    I’m considering a spell on that spammer, something like a big huge monstrous green wart to grow on his nose combined with a nasty neverending headache. I hope it will work…

  2. It’s one of the most off putting things about the Internet. I’m constantly battling through large volumes of E-mail every day, and although my hosting company has got filtering software installed on my account, it’s bloody hard work to configure it.

  3. It’s always a good prank to use a friend’s return address when sending an email 😛

  4. hmm spam, is quite a problem… i wrote a peice about how to try prevent it or if it is happening to havining your mail box spammed… if i were you i would keep a second email address for public mail to avoid more important mail boxes from being tarnished … anyways soon ill be writing a second post about web page spamming as a continuation of the first one 😉

  5. Welcome to my world! 🙂
    That happened to me about a year and a half ago. I’m still seeing the repercussions of that scumball spammer. My solution was to reverse the way I was using my webhost email.
    Set the catchall account to forward to null, then whenever I sent out an email that I wanted to get a response from, I would setup a forward for the address I used to forward to a safe address. I have over 100 forwards, but at least I don’t get those annoying bounce messages.
    I have finally opened up my catchall address now. I get about 200 spam messages a day that Thunderbird recognizes as spam from it.
    It’s scary to think that over 700,000 emails a second are sent out into the world and of that, probably 90% are spam. Yet nothing is being done about it. 60 billion messages a day is quite a huge drain on the interweb. You would think that someone would do something about it.

  6. Following my story, The Guardian is now being targeted by a pharmacy spammer.