I dislike email spam as much as most people, maybe more. For many years I tried various ways to stop or at least minimize spam. I tried systems such as Knujon (“NoJunk” spelled backward), BlueFrog, and Okopipi, but they never worked for me and are long gone.
- Related article: How To Avoid Email Spam
I’ll be using Gmail as the example for using SpamCop because it’s so popular. Arguably, Gmail has the best spam filters of all the email systems. If the Gmail spam filter was always 100% effective in catching spam and never incorrectly placed a valid email in the spam folder, you would never have to deal with spam in Gmail. However, I find that it’s much more often that there is a valid email “caught” by the Gmail spam filter than the spam filter not catching spam. Consequently, each day I have to peruse the list of spam captured to make sure there are no valid emails. That’s fine if you are receiving very few spam emails each day. If you are only receiving a very few, you can stop reading now and go on to your next article.
I had been getting one spam every day or two until July 24th, 2021 when I suddenly received 54! I felt like I had to do something and decided to give SpamCop a try for about a one-month testing period. SpamCop is owned and operated by Cisco Systems, a $250 billion company that makes networking devices like routers and switches. There are two separate parts of SpamCop. One is an email filter that is not free, and the other is just reporting the spam to SpamCop which is free. Since I like “free”, I decided to try just reporting my spam to SpamCop. After a couple of weeks of using SpamCop, I started getting discouraged and considered writing this article showing that SpamCop does NOT work. Below is the graph of the number of spam emails per day versus the 35 days I used SpamCop.
You can see in the above graph why I was discouraged when I hit 71 spams on the 17th day of reporting to SpamCop. However, the very next day it dropped like a stone and stayed low from day 18 through day 35. In fact, in the last 10 days of the study period, I only had three spam emails which is better than the one spam every day or two before using SpamCop. I’m now hooked on always using SpamCop.
How Does SpamCop Work?
SpamCop analyzes the full header information on each spam email to determine from which ISP (Internet Service Provider) that spam originated. SpamCop uses various automated network queries (i.e. DNS, WhoIs) to find the email address of the administrator on the network where the email originated. The idea here is that the admin of any ISP wants to know when their network is being abused and can stop that spammer from further abuse.
When using SpamCop, you get to see the email addresses of the ISPs they are notifying. Here is a very small sampling of the ISPs where my spam notifications were sent:
How To Use SpamCop
I highly recommend that you look over the SpamCop webpage because you will see, for example, that you will be submitting your spam anonymously. Also, some FAQs could be helpful to you.
1. Go to the link shown above and complete the section labeled “Register for the Free Reporting Service”. Then click on the “Send authorization email” link.
3. Log in to SpamCop by clicking on the link under “Cookie log-in” shown above in the authorization email. It will take you to a webpage with this:
4. Enter the Username and Password from the authorization email and choose the length of time that you want the Login to last. I like going to the max by choosing “1 year”, but feel free to choose however long you want to stay logged in. Then click on the “Login” button.
5. The next webpage you see will have a line that looks like this:
Copy the SpamCop email address (sample is shown above) on this webpage. This is where you will be sending all your spam.
6. In whichever email system you are using, create a new Contact called “SpamCop Forwarding”, or any other name that makes sense to you, and give this contact the email address you received in Step 5 above.
NOTE: All of the above steps are essentially a one-time process. The steps below are what you will do whenever you want to get your spam reported back to the ISP admins for the server from whence they came.
ALSO NOTE: SpamCop has an expiration date for the spam you forward to them. If you don’t forward the spam emails within 48 hours of receipt, SpamCop will reject them. So it would be a good idea to check and forward your spam at least once a day.
7. Get into your email account and click on your Spam folder. As mentioned previously, I’m showing Gmail for this example but ANY email system that allows you to forward emails as attachments will work fine. Do NOT try forwarding the spam email itself to SpamCop because that changes the email header that SpamCop needs. You must forward all spam as one or more attachments to an email. Doing so is simple in Windows using Gmail. However, I’ve been unable to forward emails as attachments from Gmail on my Android phone. If you can figure out how to do that, please let us know in the Comments section below.
8. Once you see your spam in the Spam folder, look it over to make sure it’s all spam. Then follow the steps shown below.
1- Click on the check box to choose all the spam.
2- Click on the three vertical dots, OR it might be a “More” button.
3- Click on “Forward as attachment”.
9. At this point you are ready to send your email with attachments to SpamCop. Since you created the contact for “SpamCop Forwarding” in step 6 above, start typing it in the “To” field and you can then send it. Note that the email you will be sending does NOT have a subject line and the body of the email will be empty, so Gmail will ask you “Send this message without a subject or text in the body?”. Confirm the request and it will be sent.
10. In as little as 2 minutes or as many as 15 minutes, you will receive an email back from the SpamCop Autoresponder that has a section that looks like the image below. In this example, two spam emails were reported so there are two links that you must use to send an email anonymously to each associated ISP admin. There will be as many spam links as you had spam. Simply click on the first link and it will open a separate tab in your default browser. You can then go back to the Autoresponder email and click on the next link. When done with clicking on all the Autoresponder spam links, your browser will have as many tabs open as you had spam.
11. This last step is to go to your browser with the open tabs (one for each spam). Then click on a tab and page down until you see a box that looks like the image below:
If you don’t see the “Additional notes” box shown above, you may see a statement that says “ISP has indicated spam will cease; ISP resolved this issue sometime after …” in red near the bottom of the webpage. That’s a GOOD thing. It means this spam sender has already been silenced at that ISP.
If you do see the box shown above, click on the “Send Spam Report(s) Now” button and the email will be sent to the admin of the server from whence it came. Repeat this step for each tab in your browser and you’ll be done.
I know that the repeatable steps above (steps 7 through 11) may seem daunting. However, once you’ve done it a few times it goes quite quickly. Somehow, it feels great to know that you are silencing spammers. If you are willing to try it, please don’t expect overnight results. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few weeks before you see results. If you try it, please come back here and let us know in the Comments how it worked for you.