Commentary by a, May 2000

The Email Header

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 23:07:55 -0400 (EDT)
To: x
Subject: The Internet Spy Guide! Find Out Info About Anyone!
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=unknown-8bit
I removed many of the header lines, but the ones above illustrate some classic features of spam headers: Note that a human can spot these, but it is very hard to make software filter out mail that contains such headers and only such headers.

Pre-setup, anti-spam-detection measures


The spammer puts in a few words here which vary from message to message. This is to thwart anti-spam measures that look for identical message bodies. So, of the thousands of these messages that might pass into MIT, it might be the case that no two of them are alike in this part.


The SOFTWARE they want BANNED in all 50 STATES.

WHY? Because these secrets were never intended to reach your eyes...Get FACTS on ANYONE using the internet!!!

Locate Missing Persons, find Lost Relatives, obtain Adresses and Phone Numbers of old school friends, even Skip Trace Dead Beat Spouses.

This is not a Private Investigator, but a sophisticated SOFTWARE program DESIGNED to automatically CRACK YOUR CASE with links to thousands of Public Record Databases.

Find out SECRETS about your relatives, friends, enemies, and everyone else!--even your Spouse! With the New:

                      INTERNET SPY AND YOU

It's absolutely astounding! Here's what you can learn:

Those upper-case words are a pretty good spam indicator, so in general this is where I stop reading. But, as a public service, I will forge on. This initial setup is "this is something you shouldn't have", with subtexts appealing to paranoia (some unspecified "they" wants to ban this) and social inadequacy (you can find out the secrets your spouse has kept from you).

Let's Look at the Specifics

Liscense Plate Number!

Get anyones name and address with just a liscense plate number!
(Find that girl you met in traffic!!!)
Ok, so they can't spell and their punctuation isn't so great. Let's just say those are also classic characteristics of spam mail. Did you know that most states have websites, and that you can probably find your state's department of motor vehicles on the web. I don't think you're going to be able to track down "that girl you met in traffic", but this is another pitch aimed at the socially-inadequate guys in the spammer's target audience.
Driving Record!
Get anyones driving record!
Right. As long as you can identify yourself properly as someone entitled to that information, it's no problem. What, you're J. Randomperson and you want to look up K. Otherperson's driving record? Or, K. Otherperson wants to look up your driving record? Pardon my lapse into spammer-speak, but "I don't think so!!!!!!"
Social security number!
Trace anyone by social security number!
Actually, as an exercise, see how far you can get looking up information about yourself using your own social security number. At most, that's how much you'll be able to find out using any other social security number. And, that's not very far.
Get anyone's address with just a name!
Yup, you can throw a name into one of the many Internet seach engines, and come up with one or more addresses that go with the name. Again, if you do this with your own name, you may find addresses for other people having the same name as yours, or you may find your own address from an ancient phone book which is decades out of date. Hey, the spammer can't guarantee accuracy! This is the Internet!
Unlisted phone numbers!
Get anyone's phone number with just a name-even unlisted numbers!
Same comment as for addresses. The contents of many old phone books have evidently made their way onto the Internet.
Long lost friends, relatives, a past lover who broke your heart!
More of the hard-sell aimed at lonely people.
Send anonymous e-mail completely untraceable!
Anonymous remailers have been around the Internet for years, and have valid uses. It is wrong to use them for anti-social purposes.
Dirty secrets!
Discover dirty secrets your in-laws don't want you to know!
A direct appeal to the paranoid reader with social problems.
Investigate anyone!
Use the sources that private investigators use (all on the Internet) secretly!
Actually, they're the same sources anyone can use on the Internet. The secrecy issue is beyond the scope of this commentary. In my own opinion, the Internet is basically a public place.
Learn how to get information on an ex-spouse that will help you
win in court!  (Dig up old skeletons)

Criminal search-Backround check!
Find out about your daughters boyfriend! (or her husband)

Find out!
If you are being investigated!

Learn all about your mysterious neighbors! Find out what they
have to hide!

People you work with!
Be astonished by what you'll learn about people you work with!

Education verification!
Did he really graduate college?  Find out!
Ugh. These are just too scummy and pathetic to comment on.
Internet Spy and You
Software will help you discover ANYTHING about anyone, with
clickable hyperlinks and no typing in Internet addresses! Just
insert the floppy disk and Go!

You will be shocked and amazed by the secrets that can be
discovered about absolutely everyone! Find out the secrets
they don't want you to know! About others, about yourself!
Another mention of that unspecified "they". Ignoring all the repellant hyperbole, what the spammer is offering is a pointer to an Internet search page. There are many excellent resources on the Internet for "looking up information". If this spam isn't a total ripoff, at most you would be getting a pointer to a webpage. As a public service, I offer a few of my favorites:

The Pitch

It's INCREDIBLE what you can find out using Internet Spy and You
and the Internet! You'll be riveted to your computer screen!
Get the software they're trying to ban! Before it's too late!


Only $24.95 US Check or Money Order

We will RUSH YOU our Internet Spy and You software so you can
begin discovering all the secrets you ever wanted to know!

You can know EVERYTHING about ANYONE with our Internet Spy and
You Software. Works with all browsers and all versions of AOL!

ATTENTION ORDERS OUTSIDE THE US:  You must ad $5 for shipping.

Foreign money orders must be payable on a US BANK AND IN US FUNDS!

ORDER TODAY: SEND ONLY $24.95 Check or Money Order
(you may also send one of your own address labels
for accuracy if you have one.) If not Please write clearly and include a valid email address for conformation
I hope you can tell by now that you should not send money. What they are describing in somewhat salacious terms already exists for free. Do not send money to spammers.

More Pitch, In Case You Missed the First One

DON'T WAIT TO GET STARTED... it's as easy as 1. 2. 3. 4.

STEP 1 - Print the order form text below or print clearly on a sheet of paper

STEP 2 - Type or print your order information into the order form

STEP 3 - Mail order form and payment to the address below. Make all check or money orders payable to Jumpstart!

STEP 4 - Please put Product #1 on check or money order.

For Credit Card Orders Fill out this form and mail in along with

credit card number/credit card type/experation date
Please print the name on the card clearly.
Again, repeat this as many times as necessary:
Do not send money to spammers.

Where NOT to send your money

Mail the portion below

1348 Washington Avenue #250
Miami Beach, FL. 33139

Mail-in Order Form

Name: ______________________________
> > >
> > >
Address:  _____________________________
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
Email Address:____________________________________

end of form
Do not send money. Do not reply. Do not let the spammer know you have read the mail. The best thing to do with spam is delete it without reading it. Or, let your local postmaster know about it.

More pitch, disguised as a disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: The seller of this powerful software resource will not be
held responsible for how the purchaser chooses to use its resources.
Oooh! It's so powerful, they can't help what might happen!

One last attempt to find out if you read the spam all the way to the end

To be removed from our mailing list please send an email to please put stop in the subject line.
No. No. No. Do not reply to spam. If you reply to spam, the spammer will get your email address along with the knowledge that someone using your account (hopefully, you) actually read the pathetic spam all the way to the end. Never reply to spam. The best thing to do with spam is delete it without reading it. Or, let your local postmaster about it.

Closing, yet another anti-spam-detection measure

Thank you, and Kind Regards,

Uhh, you're welcome. What'd you say your name was again?