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How can I help make a difference?

First off, explore the rest of this site and make sure you've done everything you can of the techniques that are listed here.

Back already?

The range of things any person can do about spam can be classified into one of four major areas.

Personal

The personal things you can do about spam include never responding to it, filtering it out of your e-mail, and complaining to providers about it. All of these things are covered elsewhere on this site, and we sincerely hope you take our advice to heart.

Political

Anti-spam activists have been lobbying the US government since 1997 for a law against spam. Sad to say, despite a 427-1 vote in favor of the CAUCE-sponsored HR3113 in July of 2000, the US wound up with quite a bad anti-spam law in 2003. One of the things you can do if you're an American is to join CAUCE and add your voice to our efforts. We're up against some pretty large business interests, so every person counts.

If you're not an American citizen, check out CAUCE's international partners, listed on the right-hand side of our home page. If you are in a country without a national anti-spam organization, write us and we'll try to put you in touch with other anti-spammers from your homeland.

Legal

18 US states now have laws regulating spam to one extent or another. The best resource for legal and practical information about these laws is The SpamCon Foundation Law Center.

There are also steps you can take to assist the US government with enforcing existing laws that are broken by spammers.

  • Spam that is fraudulent - offering products that don't work or don't exist, pyramid schemes and so on - can be sent to the US Federal Trade Commission at uce@ftc.gov.
  • Spam that promotes stocks can be sent to the US Securities and Exchange Commission at enforcement@sec.gov.
  • Spam containing or advertising child pornography is illegal in most of the world under existing law. In the US, you can report suspected criminal activity to the Federal Bureau of Investigation via this form. You can also file child-pornography-specific reports with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children here.

    In Europe, it seems you can report it to Swedish Save the Children; this group is funded by the EU, and British Save the Children refers to it when asked how child pornography is best reported. You can also try inhope, an organization of internet hotline services.

    In New Zealand, you can report child pornography to the Department of Internal Affairs.

    Here is a partial worldwide list of reporting addresses for child pornography.

    If you are not a American or European but have the contact information for the organization in your country that investigates child pornography, please e-mail it to us.

  • Unfortunately, while sending spam containing regular pornography to your children is probably illegal, no agency is charged with investigating this particular area.
  • Chain letters that ask for money, whether for "reports" or just straight up, are illegal in the US whether they are in postal mail or e-mail. Report these frauds to your local US Postmaster.
  • You may see e-mail coming from Nigeria or another African country, sent by someone who wants to use your bank account to transfer 20 million dollars. This is called a '419' scam and people have been killed over it. Do not answer. If you are an American, go here for more information. If you are British, see the London Metropolitan Police's alert.

Business

Chances are, you've got a job or you know somebody who owns their own business. Many businesses are experimenting with e-mail as a sales and marketing tool as the Internet becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives. Help keep the businesses in your life from becoming spammers by showing them this site and especially our information for marketers.

Scott Hazen Mueller / E-mail me