Is it possible that my stalker ex-girlfriend is joe-jobbing me?
February 1, 2008 5:16 PM   Subscribe

I have been the victim of a joe job. This means that spammers are putting my domains into the "reply to" of their spam messages, resulting in a barrage of auto-replies to my inbox. I am also being stalked by my ex-girlfriend. She has already vandalized my window, my car, and myspace page. She's pretty computer savvy, but I'm not aware of a method that would allow an individual (ie. not a professional spammer) to pass a domain onto a spammer. Is it possible that she is behind this?
posted by TigerCrane to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Possible, but not necessary likely. It happens to me and some of my clients every few months on various domains, and I'm pretty careful about not putting addresses on Web pages, etc. If you do, you should feel lucky this is a new occurrence for you as it's quite common.

Typically I find they don't use your specific e-mail address, just your domain, so you eventually get to ditching the ability to use catch-all mail addresses, and just use one or set up some forwarders manually. That seems to work for me (that and forwarding all of my various domains' e-mail into Gmail now, it's too painful administering mail nowadays).
posted by wackybrit at 5:19 PM on February 1, 2008


Spamming doesnt take a professional. It takes someone with a few dollars to buy a mass-mailer and a list. These apps are GUI-based and incredibly easy to use. Usually designed for a secretary to send out small company newletters. The forms are free form, you can put in any domain you want. Any computer savvy person can spam. Easily.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:20 PM on February 1, 2008


It's pretty easy to filter out bounces from a joe job. Basically, anything that looks like a bounce but is not addressed to an account that you send mail from can just be deleted by a rule.

I doubt it has anything to do with your ex, but you never know.
posted by kindall at 5:24 PM on February 1, 2008


Spamming doesnt take a professional. It takes someone with a few dollars to buy a mass-mailer and a list. These apps are GUI-based and incredibly easy to use. Usually designed for a secretary to send out small company newletters. The forms are free form, you can put in any domain you want. Any computer savvy person can spam. Easily.

The spams going out are real spams, however...penis enlargers and such. ad they are different. If she was just using a spambot, wouldn't they all be the same?
posted by TigerCrane at 5:25 PM on February 1, 2008


I've had this happen to me (most often when I was in the anti-spam biz), and it generally only lasts a few days. Real spammers don't want to use the same From address all of the time, because it's too easy for the anti-spammers to key in on.
posted by popechunk at 5:26 PM on February 1, 2008


google for your e-mail address. A malicious person could have posted your address on the web and hoped for it to be harvested.
posted by rdr at 6:13 PM on February 1, 2008


It seems possible that maybe she just threw your email address out on the 'net in unprotected form all over the place (Usenet, forums, whatever), knowing that spammers would pick it up and at least spam you -- and one of them picked it up and is using it as the reply-to.

I don't know if it's possible to do a "contract joe-job" on somebody you don't like. My instinct says sure, it's probably possible, if you know where to go and who to talk to, but I don't know where you go for that sort of thing. (I think there are certain IRC channels where various ne'er-do-wells hang out, but I'm not sure if a random person can just walk in and ask for that sort of service. Places like that are typically unfriendly to outsiders.) I guess it's really your call as to whether you think she'd know where to go for that, or if she's pissed at you to do it.

Have you gotten a restraining order yet? If not, you should, since it sounds like she's already escalated to physical vandalism. I'd get one right away, since it might help you sue her in case she causes further damage.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:16 PM on February 1, 2008


I had a similar thing happen to me. My email and IP address was suddenly blocked by a number of websites and email services (hotmail for one) because someone reported me as a spammer (which I am not guilty of).

I'm not sure what to do about it other than change ISP's.

Any suggestions would be appreciated
posted by cameron.case at 6:36 PM on February 1, 2008


I seriously doubt it. I'm joe jobbed all the time, and, as far as I know, the entire universe loves me.

I tend to think that joe jobbing is common, and it just happens to everybody every once in a while, more or less at random. I doubt that targetted joe jobbing is any significant reality.
posted by Flunkie at 7:15 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


As the other comment said, all it takes is a mass-mailed to do this. To add to this, this is the standard practice followed by many spammers. Why? Because many e-mail systems block spams by the "from" or "reply-to" addresses, so the spammers (actually, automated programs - spammers don't even have to do this) just pick random domains from a list (automatically gathered or spidered by their programs, again) for the from: and reply-to: addresses whenever a spam mail is sent.

It doesn't matter to the spammers what the from:/reply-to: address is - that's not how they operate. The links in the spam mail work. It is common for your domain to be reported as the spamming one because most users (and unfortunately, network administrators) don't understand how easy is it to fudge these fields in the e-mail and most spammers do that.

Just make sure you regularly check the Spam Blocklists to see if your domain is actually being used to send these mails using the hosting service you are using (did your hosting account get hacked?), or if you are on a shared hosting plan unfortunately also hosting the spammer's tools on another account.
posted by manish at 8:30 PM on February 1, 2008


It's possible, but it's not very probable. Everyone gets joe-jobbed, it goes with the territory of being an email user. Think of it as another little unavoidable irritation of life. Don't look for your ex behind every tree.
posted by evariste at 10:57 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If your email address is on your own domain, add an SPF record to the domain.

Doesn't stop the spamming, but it does prevent most large mail hosts from bothering you with the bounces, and it does cause them to flag all messages "from" your domain which originate at the wrong IP address as spam.

I've found using it for my outgoing mail's domain to be surprisingly effective at improving my incoming spam issues. GMail catches pretty much everything now, while before it was letting a couple of dozen through every day (to be fair, that's out of a daily average of 6000 spam messages).
posted by genghis at 7:52 AM on February 2, 2008


I've been using SPF for ages, and still get complaints about spam from my domains; maybe because I was only using SOFTFAIL (~all) instead of FAIL (-all). I've changed that now, hopefully it's helped...
posted by Freaky at 9:34 AM on February 2, 2008


Related: where can you check to see if your domain has been listed as a spammer? I've been having problems with emails from my one domain getting through to people and given that I've seen a lot of spammers using my domain in their reply-to, I'd like to see what I can do about it.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2008


Tigercrane, is this the ex that you were trying to break up with a little while ago?

If so, I think the chances that she is the agent are high, based on your descriptions of her level of crazy-ness in the last post. All she had to do was go to FREE IPOD and XXX PORNO HERE sites and enter your email address, and you'd be getting spam.

Equally easy for her to get others to start using YOUR address to send out spam.
posted by arnicae at 2:36 PM on February 2, 2008



Tigercrane, is this the ex that you were trying to break up with a little while ago?


Yep, same one.
posted by TigerCrane at 9:42 PM on February 3, 2008


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