Spam, and the spamming spammers who spam it

by Erica Sadun

Who are Eric Stellwagen and Herman Chakoff? And why do they hate me?

I've been receiving their spam for several years now. I can only assume that at some point, they signed up for something and didn't want to use their real e-mail addresses. Instead, they made one up--mine.

Thanks, fellas. I can never tell you how much I appreciate that.

Since then, I've received offers for medicines without pre$cr1ipti0ns, for discount vAcat1on$, for pr1nter ref1ll$ and for (ahem) various items that offer to enlarge body parts I don't actually own. Personally, that is. (Speaking of which, why are there no spam ads for larger b0s0ms? Isn't there a giant untapped market for this?)

Who's lucky day?

A recent missive read: "Eric Stellwagen, This is your lucky day!!!!!" Well, that was certainly true, considering in whose mailbox that spam landed.

Speaking of luck, Herman seems to have way more Nigerian friends than I do. Such a popular guy! And he has to fake an e-mail? Herman, Herman, Herman. Your friends are so generous. They've offered to put several hundred thousand dollars into your bank account--and you can actually keep the interest accrued during that time! And you're sending those opportunities to me? What were you thinking?

Recently, spammers seem to have discovered Yahoo and Google People Search.

Subject: Eric A Stellwagen, Watertown, Ma, 2472
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 18:33:09 -0600
X-Priority: 3

Dear Eric A Stellwagen,

We would like to take this moment to review yourfinancial inquiry
you made regarding your property. This is the information we have
for you:

456 Belmont St Apt 19
Watertown Ma 2472
6179233928 280000
Self Employed Fixed Single Family

Eric A Stellwagen, we are very confident that we can improve on your
current situation. Come and visit us today and lets see what we can
do for you. We have a team of professionals who are standing ready to
assist you and and drastically reduce your monthly outgoings. Give
us a minute of your time to let us show you what we can do


Monthly outgoings? Don't they have extra-absorbent pads for that?

It kinda makes me wonder--is this really the Eric Stellwagon
who has haunted me these many years? I suppose it's a little late
to ask him to stop--once the spammers have an e-mail in their
nasty little hands, it's a bit too late.

Still, you've got to wonder whether he's making up other
e-mail addresses and selling them to the devil spammers.

Share your Spam horror stories...


2005-01-29 21:16:45
Don't Worry...
I know the poor sap who owns root -at-, you know that address that everyone uses when the form won't accept a plain old root@localhost
2005-01-30 01:52:58
Think you have it bad?
Read this :-)
2005-01-30 11:42:38
I know what you mean!
My email address is rhs at, and I've had this same address for more than 12 years. It seems that at every "Rockefeller High School", "Ridgewood High School", "Riverside High School", and every other high school in the country whose name begins with an "R", at least one student routinely uses my email address as their standard fake address. One particular fellow, named Shane Alexander, has been a prolific offender in this regard for a very long time. I'm sure he's well into college -- or beyond -- by now, but I'm still getting his spam in great quantity. Another consequence of this, however, is the fact that when these students use my address as the replyt-to address while making postings to teen-oriented Usenet groups, web forums or mailing lists, I occasionaly receive personal email replies meant for them. Some of these replies have had clear signs that either the sender or the intended recipient is a very troubled young person. This has on occasion raised an ethical problem for me: whether a much older stranger should return the message to the sender with an explanation that it was misaddressed - which might cause even more distress for the young person in question when they realize how much he or she has exposed about himself, or even to try to trace the sender or recipient via whatever clues are in the content and the headers and contact a counselor at the appropriate school.


2005-01-31 13:23:47
some thoughts

  1. There sure is 'enlarge your breasts' spam. Not as much as 'enlarge your p3n1s', but still.

  2. Don't rule out the possibility that spammers simply make up random combinations of e-mail adresses and names. If a combination of your e-mail and the name 'Eric A. Stellwagen' ended up on a '5 million addresses to spam' cd it certainly isn't the fault of Eric A. Stellwagen, if there even is such a person.

    1. JP