Feeds

Vulture eats his way along a trail of Spam

From T-Mobile to eBay

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Analysis Last December we received a spam email, which appeared to come from T-Mobile, advertising "exclusive offers and great phone deals". We also heard from some readers who were equally surprised to have received spam from a generally well-reputed company.

So we thought we'd find out how we ended up on this mailing list.

We contacted T-Mobile and were initially assured that it only uses opt-in systems - but we never opted in, so why did we get the email?

It seems T-Mobile uses a company called Quantum Media for its mailings. Quantum Media then subcontracts the work to Mailtrack Media, which provides the tracking and management, but doesn't actually send the messages.

The messages are sent by another company, E-Mail Movers, which also provides the list of opted-in email addresses. This is where the trail starts to get a little murky.

It seems that E-Mail Movers found its list to be a little short, so contacted Century Communications, which provided an additional list of interested customers, and assurances that everyone on the list had agreed to be contacted with deals of this kind.

So where did Century Communications get the list from? It bought it from a bloke on eBay for £20. The chap assured the company the list was legit - 200 million opted-in email addresses. Being trusting souls, Century took his word for it.

We tried to contact "Colin", the bloke from eBay, to find out where he got the list from, but had had no luck at time of printing.

So, just to recap, T-Mobile hired Quantum Media who hired Mailtrack Media who hired E-Mail Movers who bought a list from Century Communications who bought it from a bloke on eBay.

All the companies involved are British-based and signed up to the Direct Marketing Association, as well as being responsible to the Information Commissioner's Office. In light of our complaint, E-Mail Movers has lodged a complaint with the Information Commissioner who will investigate the procedures used by Century Communications.

The companies involved here send out millions of emails for high-profile customers, and very rarely receive any kind of complaint.

They have all assured us they are taking our complaint seriously, and will be "reviewing procedures in light of this case". Ultimately, companies will only take action if customers complain. So if you get spam from a business you consider legitimate, complain direct to the firm and let it try to unravel the chain of events which led to your address being sold on eBay.

If that doesn't work, let us know. And we'll see if we can track down Colin.®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.