SpamCop May report highlights an overwhelming number of 5 554 895 spam attempts globally. Can you imagine the scale? It means that present-day cyber criminals have become more cunning and sophisticated. With that in mind, you must begin to prioritize the security, email sender reputation, and integrity of your domain ASAP.
These days, blacklists are vital when it comes to user mailbox protection. However, even the most law-abiding senders get tangled with the denylist once or twice in a lifetime, and thus you must realize how to react should the issue arise.
Considering the stakes, today we'll share all the necessary information you must have on SpamCop. Whether it is why your IP gets blacklisted, the process of delisting, or how to communicate with SpamCop during the delisting process, we've got your back.
FYI! Spamcop is only one of major blacklists. Check out our general guide on how to remove IP from a blacklist, Outlook blacklist guide, and Spamhaus blacklist guide to ruling out any chance of ending up on the wrong side of the blacklist.
The Article Walkthrough:
How Does SpamCop Blacklist Work?
The SpamCop Block List (SCBL) is one of the most trusted and reliable lists of IP addresses that have been spotted sending spam emails to email users all over the globe. The SpamCop organization was launched in 1998 and has been on guard of email security ever since.
❗SCBL is a time-based blacklist, resulting in quick and automatic delisting of sites when the incoming reports stop.
The working process of the blacklisting system is fairly simple — it responds to direct/indirect email sources flagged as spam and temporarily puts their IPs in quarantine.
NB! SpamCop will list an IP for 12–48 hours or longer only if there are repeated instances of spam. The system does not block IPs based on one complaint. However, if two reports are piling against your IP, you may be blocked for around 12 hours.
The main trigger for the SpamCop blacklist filter is the number of incoming user spam reports. Surely, it isn't the most ideal way to detect cyberattacks since sometimes sources don't get listed merely because the number of unreported emails outweighs those that get flagged.
Unlike some blacklists, SpamCop relies on different criteria when it comes to blocking an IP:
- User reports
- Spam traps
- Spam pattern analysis
SpamCop Listing Criteria & Causes
One of the most peculiar features of the SpamCop black list is that it blocks only IPs that send spam and does not list domain names or email addresses. The same goes for missing or incorrect DNS/rDNS records.
Rule number 1 — treat SpamCop blacklist requirements with caution and care and promptly address any issues. Or, you may face the following problems:
- Online security issues
- Trust and reputation questions
- Deliverability troubles
An IP will end up listed with SpamCop if the machine in use is flagged as the source of spam, even if it does not host an insecure or misconfigured server.
What will trigger a SpamCop listing response? There are a few causes that stand out:
- Virus-compromised PC: A virus-installed SMTP engine may send direct-to-MX or smarthousing through the server, compromising your IP.
- Spam-exploiter proxy: A virus has compromised your proxy, or a spammer is using an existing one along with a cache installed on your server.
- Insecure network/LAN
- Insecure script
- Reassigned IPs: As ISPs assign new users with IPs already in use, there may be a listing history to deal with. Even the securest senders will have to deal with the consequences of irresponsible behavior of the previous users of either shared or dynamic IP.
How To Check Whether Your IP is Listed?
There are a few ways to check if your IP has ended up on the SpamCop list.
Perform Manual Checkup
The simplest way to succeed with the task is to carry out a manual SpamCop lookup.
- Go to the SpamCop Blocking List page.
- Enter your IP.
- Press Enter.
- Evaluate the results.
Every IP address that you look up will have a 'listing history' page. So, you can track the precise time and date of every listing/delisting for the past 30 days, no matter whether it is a valid or mistaken listing. However, the history does not provide information on whether the listing was valid/mistaken/timed off. There's no manual delisting data provided.
Check report from SpamCop
Every time you get reported, SpamCop will email you about the listing. The email usually contains links with all the information on the reported email and follow-up procedures. After you follow the provided link, you will access advanced options for reported spam response and in-depth analysis.
There are two types of spam reports:
At first glance, they look similar, almost identical, but you should pay attention to the subject line. In the first case, you can see that email has been tracked to the network. This is serious. It usually identifies a spam source as it is.
The second example shows how spammers can infiltrate your systems and send spam on your behalf. This is equally serious but does not necessarily identify you as a spammer, yet it can damage your sender reputation.
Getting Delisted as a System Administrator
Most system administrators are tech-savvy enough to deal with the SpamCop delist process, but we'll outline the main steps just in case:
- Start by finding out whether your IP has been listed and what are the underlying causes are for that. Unlike some blocklists, SpamCop provides all the necessary data to solve the pressing matter and stay out of it in the future. Besides, you will see how long the system will take to delist you.
- If you've received a report you can't process on your own, you may want to fill out a dedicated form to let the SpamCop team assist you. Provide complete information on your relationship to the IP, including your name and title (It is best to write from your role@ account address). Copy the complete subject line from the report you received and describe why you may want to dispute it. Provide any supporting documentation you have.
NB! Do not write to SpamCop to notify the team that you've worked on the underlying cause and fixed it. The IP will be automatically delisted in 24 hours if no new reports occur.
Getting Delisted as an End-User with Shared IP
If you receive a bounce message as an end-user, the chances are that your computer/LAN/network is insecure. So, you should take the steps and do everything that you can.
First of all, scan your PC with another Anti-Virus than you usually use. The chances are that your current AV has let something slip. Check if your software, OS, and any third-party program/app are up-to-date. Run at least two spyware removal tools to get rid of anything that may be compromising your security.
If your IP has not been automatically delisted during 24 hours, wait up to 24 hours before your IP is delisted.
! In the meantime, register with SpamCop to inform all service users that you are taking active steps against spam. You can follow the link provided in your spam report.
Listed by Mistake? Follow These Steps
First things first, you must realize that SpamCop admins can't manually deal with every report since they are way too many. Not to mention that there's barely a chance to tell a legitimate claim from a false report. So, while the SCBL is an effective tool for blocking spam, it is not perfect and can sometimes block legitimate emails.
Ask for an SCBL listing to be reviewed
If you think you have been listed by mistake, contact SpamCop and ask them to review your listing. Provide as much relevant information as possible to speed up the process.
Main reasons for reviewed listing:
- Technical errors: when there's a potential malfunction on the SpamCop's end.
- User error: when a user reports an IP by mistake. You should provide all the proof that your email shouldn't have been reported.
The review request should contain the user's double opt-in confirmation record. Other forms of evidence will be treated at the sole discretion of the service team.
Get in touch with a person who failed the complaint
If you wonder how you can get in touch with the person who reported you — the answer is simpler than you think. All it takes is to contact them and clear things out. All reports passing through the server contain valid return addresses so that you can contact them and state your thoughts on the matter, inquire about the underlying report reason, etc.
NB! Keep in mind SpamCop can't make users read your incoming emails, let alone respond to them.
Bottom Line: Unexpected Learning Opportunities
While being listed by SpamCop seems like an unwanted setback, you can always derive some unexpected learning opportunities from the situation. It does not take long for the service to delist your IP, but in the meantime, you will be motivated to reassess your email policy and ongoing marketing practices. New email outreach trends appear as we speak.
As you foster a culture of respect for anti-spam guidelines and the recipient's experience, you may also increase email deliverability chances. With professional email deliverability consulting, you will forget about annoying blacklisting issues sooner than you can spell it!