Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tracking Down a Spammer

From time to time a spammer will annoy me enough to track them down and call them at home to let them know how I feel about their spam. Today's story is about tracking down a spammer at home.

I am constantly receiving image spam for an online pharmacy called RXCart.org. This is the story of how I tracked down the man responsible.

1. It used to be that when you placed an order at RXCart.org you were directed to hsnsecure.com. It so happens that this is an SSL-enabled site complete with Versign certificate. Immediately after this blog posting rxcart.org was changed to point to a new processor.

2. Using Firefox I examined the SSL certificate for hsnsecure.com and find that it's issued to a "Health Solutions Network, LLC" with an address in Washington state. From research conducted on the Internet, it seems as though HSN is a company that specializes in processing orders for all kinds of people hawking their prescription medication sites.

3. I got to the Washington Secretary of State's Web site and look up this corporation. I see who it is registered to. Turns out he's in Snohomish, WA (he's probably one of the pricks threatening the boy who was almost killed by the cannon too).

4. I take this information over to zabasearch.com and find his home address and phone number.

So, you see, it can be very easy to track a spammer down if you know which tools to use.

EDIT: I changed this post to remove direct references to the actual individual on the advice of counsel. The information remains accessible via the methods described.

7 Comments:

Blogger Carl said...

This RXcart dude is using one of my domains as his fake return address, why me I don't know, but I'm getting all the "mail returned" from the bastard. Glad you called him, I wish I could blow up his freaking computer.

Tue Dec 26, 11:59:00 AM PST  
Blogger HealthSolNet said...

Ralph Penton is not part of the RXCart organization. He is receiving harassing and threatening phone calls at his home. This has been reported to Washington state law enforcement who are working to track the individual down. We ask that you remove the phone number from your post until a resolution has been reached.

Wed Dec 27, 10:28:00 AM PST  
Blogger HealthSolNet said...

I would also like to bring your attention to a much easier way of handling a spam complaint against any website that links to our order form.

http://www.hsnsecure.com/Report-Spam.php

This is our spam reporting page and lists the number of the phone that sits on my desk. I will take your complaints directly.

Wed Dec 27, 10:52:00 AM PST  
Blogger Deputy Bill said...

I cannot comment on whether Mr. Penton is or is not part of the RXCart organization. What I do know is that he is is the owner of Health Solutions Network. This is the company that processes orders for RXCart. You don't have to take my word for it, you can look at the SSL certificate for yourself. If the SSL certificate has been issued through fraud of some sort, Mr. Penton should contact Verisign, not me.

Thu Dec 28, 07:50:00 PM PST  
Blogger Deputy Bill said...

Now it appears that Health Solutions Network no longer processes the orders for RxCart.org.

Fri Dec 29, 08:48:00 AM PST  
Blogger HealthSolNet said...

Mr. Baker:

Health Solutions Network, LLC (HSN) does not currently, nor has the Company ever processed orders for RxCart.org. Your claim to that effect is not accurately founded and is false. This we can prove.

In the case you cite in your BLOG, you have found HSN because the clever spammer wanted you to. The spammer is hiding behind an attractive target to divert the vigilant attention of fed up, but uninformed individuals.

While your steps to "track down a spammer" may seem clever and diligent, you have been duped into believing that a legal, US based company is behind the spam. The Conclusion in your BLOG that HSN is a spammer is completely and totally false.

Informing your readership to follow the same path that you did to HSN is irresponsible and uninformed and has resulted in possible criminal harassment. HSN has filed a complaint with the Snohomish County Police Department. Thursday evening, December 28th, Deputy Marcus Dill of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office called you, and after being hung up on twice, left you a voice mail.

Making False and unfounded claims that an internet company is responsible for spamming will come at a cost for you. HSN will continue to aggressively pursue all available legal remedies unless a complete retraction of your claim that Health Solutions Network is responsible for any spamming is filed within the next 12 hours.

In addition, the phone company is now working in conjunction with the sheriff’s department actively tracing all inbound phone calls that are made to the phone number listed on the original blog post. All calls will be treated as harassment and acted on accordingly.

Please immediately contact HSN’S attorney:

Louis Petriello, Attorney
Petriello & Royal, LLC
215-646-9119

Fri Dec 29, 12:37:00 PM PST  
Blogger jbaker6953 said...

On December 21, 2006, I received an extraordinary amount of spam from the same source within a short period of time. The experience was annoying to me -- even more annoying than usual given the large volume in a short period of time. My irritation motivated me to attempt to track down the source of the spam. By following the steps outlined above I was lead to the name of Mr. Ralph Penton and his company, Health Solutions Network. I then blogged about the steps I had taken, and what I had found -- including identifying Mr. Penton and Health Solutions Network. I have no evidence that the spam messages I received originated from Mr. Penton and Health Solutions Network themselves. I am unaware of any evidence that Mr. Penton and Health Solutions Network were themselves responsible for the spam I received and, more generally, I am unaware of any evidence that Mr. Penton and Health Solutions Network engage in spamming activities. To the extent my blog implies otherwise, please consider this a full retraction.

Fri Jun 08, 06:42:00 PM PDT  

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