Nowadays, “legitimate businesses” typically don’t send out too much blatant spam themselves. When they do send email solicitations, they’ll usually have some legitimate rational for initiating the contact. Perhaps you’ve done business with them in the past or you forgot to opt out of their direct marketing lists.
But, when it comes to pure junk email, they can always rely on “affiliates” or “marketing partners” to do the dirty work for them.
Case in point, this bogus piece of junk sent on behalf of CreditReport.com:
For all we know they might very well honor the opt-out link and they do provide a mailing address for removal, so while they might be in technical compliance with various (and useless) laws, to anyone in the real world, this is spam.
How does CreditReport.com get away with sending such junk?
First of all, this email is sent from a “throwaway” domain “freesampleparadise.com”
Subject: Your 2010 Credit Score
From: CreditReport.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
And the connecting server is actually this domain:
from englewood.freesampleparadise.com ([220.127.116.11])
A quick Whois query shows this domain was very recently registered:
Registrar: WILD WEST DOMAINS, INC.
Updated Date: 15-dec-2009
Creation Date: 11-dec-2009
And a visit to the site itself loads nothing other than a blank page with the work “Welcome!”
Empty or misleading homepages with freshly registered, and thus disposable, domains are bread and butter spam techniques. When enough filters block this garbage email, they can just abandon freesampleparadise.com and register another random domain for sending more junk email.
The next spamming trick is that the link in the garbage email you receive will at first send you to the disposable domain:
But that domain will then redirect you to this page on CreditReport.com
Note however, that at some point they’ll likely be made aware of this post and they’ll intentionally break the link, but for the record here’s a screen shot of the page:
On a separate issue, notice that since the law now prevents anyone from offering a “Free Credit Report” except the government-authorized site AnnualCreditReport.com this CreditReport.com page now instead offers a “Free Credit Score” which makes it pretty clear that spamming isn’t their only questionable business practice.
Also notice that the mailing address provided for opting out of these “FreeSampleParadise” emails appears to be a “mail box” at a Postnet business center store that shares the same address.
So there you have all of the ingredients of a typical spam campaign, sent by or on behalf of what you might have hoped was a legitimate company:
- Pathetic garbage email offers
- From a newly registered throwaway domain
- Disposable web site with no real content
- Redirecting to the actual CreditReport.com web site
- An opt out address at a retail or mail box location
- A sleazy offer of a free credit “Score” now that it is illegal to offer free credit “Reports”
If you want a copy of your credit report, stick with honest and legitimate sites, such as: AnnualCreditReport.com
We noticed there’s also a writeup on CreditReport.com’s business practices at the Consumerist:
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