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Life Threatening Emails

February 20, 2013

 A couple of Wednesdays back, I wasted a considerable amount of time on a piece of spam email.

 It wasn’t the fact that I didn’t instantly identify it as spam, it was that I felt I really needed to take some action to prevent others from getting such a horrible piece of work.

 Over the years I’ve had my share. The Theatremonkey address is “out there” and so a bit gets through the filters. This is the first that I’ve really got angry about though:

From: Joe Batters []

Sent: 30 January 2013 10:17

To: undisclosed recipients:

Subject: Your life is in danger!!!

 This is the only way I could contact you for now,I want you to be very careful about this because i am a International sniper from UK,travels all over the counties due to my professional and keep this secret with you until I make out space for us to see. You have no need of knowing who I am or where i am from.I know this may sound very surprising to you but it’s the situation.I have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer.It’s someone I believe you call a friend, I have followed you closely for a while now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusations leveled against you. Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them,because if you do, I will know,and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do.Besides, this is the first time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job.I took pity on you… That is why I have made up my mind to help you if you are willing to help yourself.

 Do you really need your life?


I then got even more angry when I found that there was literally nowhere to report it to.

After a Google search, I decided to call 101 – the “non emergency” number for the police. A very helpful phoneroom operator confirmed that I’d done the right thing in that they could eliminate it as a “criminal” action (to be that, it would have had to be addressed to me personally) but could log it as a statistic and perhaps prevent distress / reassure other less “web savvy” callers who got the same email.

 They suggested I contact – Internet Watch Foundation. Well, I checked the site, but it only deals with underage adult material. I rang them anyway, and was directed to a list of links on their site, covering everything from violence to racism…

 … none of the fitted. Finally, I decided the only thing was to contact the ISP of the sender. After a tussle with the websites, I found out how to discover the “full header” (the bit that tells them where the email came from) and I submitted to the two I could identify.

 Still, it is amazing that there is no central register of this stuff, I think, and when we are supposedly so concerned about “protection” online, that seems an amazing oversight really, doesn’t it. It does to me, anyway. Still, on the plus side, I got this blog entry out of it at least!

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