How to identify the fax sender
There are several methods to determine who is sending these faxes to you so
you can contact them to force them to stop.
Both the advertiser (the company that created the content) and the fax
broadcaster (the company that transmitted the fax) are liable under law. It is
somewhat more difficult to identify the fax broadcaster. But if you do, you can
ask that they remove your phone number from ALL transmissions which stops all
those calls you are getting in the middle of the night. In short, it is
much easier to call a single fax broadcaster, than it
is to identify and call each of the hundreds of advertisers of the fax
You call the fax broadcaster and tell them to stop. If that doesn't work, you
keep calling and you start involving your lawyer, etc. if they persist. The
reason that works is because the cost to the broadcaster of handling a single
phone call is at least $2.00 or more. That is more than they are going to make
by sending you junk faxes in a year. So it is simply cheaper to remove you than
have to deal with your phone calls which ties up people time. Some broadcasters
switch you to a recording for that reason...you can't reach a live human. In
such cases, you may need to "be creative" (i.e., you have to lie) to get them to
return your call, e.g., pretend you are interested in buying their service. The
point is this: the more of a pain in the ass you make it for them in terms of
the people cost in dealing with your complaint, the more they are going to be
motivated to take you off their list. They fundamentally don't want to fax you
anyway....it's all about the money. They will simply behave in a way that
maximizes their profit. It's that simple.
Here are methods to determine the fax advertiser and/or broadcaster for a
given fax. They are in no particular order. Read them all and prioritize for
your situation and objectives.
- See if the FCC has already researched the title
- See if someone else has already researched the title
- Get the real callerID of every junk fax call you
receive (even if they block or forge their callerID) for only $10 per month (you can cancel at any time). See How to stop junk faxes
for a complete description of how this works.
- Hire an expert
- Put on a Call trap, file a lawsuit, and then subpoena the trap results (HARD).
See Investigation tools for
- Call the advertiser and trick them into telling you who they are. Then threaten the advertiser with a lawsuit if they don't ID the broadcaster
(works best if you've won in small claims and can show you are serious or
send them a copy of the claim you plan to file). If it doesn't, sue the
advertiser in small claims and send them a subpoena requiring them to tell
you who the fax broadcaster is. If they don't comply, they lose the lawsuit
- Header identification (easy). This IDs the broadcaster. (see below)
- Google search on the removal number. This IDs the broadcaster.
- Removal recording belongs to a known fax broadcaster (see table below)
- Content similarity with a known fax in a database
- Similarity of the fax with content on the web (identifies the advertiser)
- Use a pay research service such as Abika
or Toll Free 800 Directory
provides information about 1-800 numbers, reverse lookup and tracing 1 800
on the removal number. That will get you the broadcaster.
- Call the advertiser (the response # on the fax) and pretend to be a
customer. If you spend 5 minutes pretending you are interested and then ask
who they are, they will usually tell you. This will get you the advertiser,
not the broadcaster.
- Use the investigation tools on the phone numbers or website:
- Hook up a callerID unit to your phone line
- Forward your phone to an 800#. The 800# can then forward the calls back
to another phone such as your cell phone. They can then pick off the ANI
information (callerID that cannot be blocked) and tell you. Abika offers
this service. See Investigation tools
- Hook up a fax machine to the phone line (or use a laptop and faxmodem
software) at the time(s) that the fax calls come in, e.g., after midnight.
Note: this method is only applicable if you are getting fax calls on a
line without a fax machine.
- Sign up for *69 service (call return). This will give you the callerID
of the last call if there was one.
You can also try the following "passive" techniques to escape the fax calls:
- Set up your fax line to only accept calls from callers who show their
CallerID. Most junk faxers hide this.
- Change your phone number (temporary fix)
- Take a look at the products at this site and see which are most
appropriate for your problem: Block
Unwanted Calls and Junk Faxes - with or without Caller ID @ Privacy Corps.
If you purchase one, please write us and let us know how it worked for you.
Each of these methods is described below. If you do these methods, please let
us know the results if they are not already listed here.
See if the FCC has already researched the fax
Telecommunications Consumers Division - Unsolicited Faxes
lists their citations. Often, you can search for the title of the fax, e.g., if
you type "Wall Street Watch" in the search box on that page, you can
find the offender.
See if someone else has identified the fax
Try a google search on the response number or removal number.
Hire an expert
Contact one of Junk fax attorneys.
They know the tricks to find the perpetrators. If they don't, they can contact
us via the link and we'll talk to them about how to do it.
The best way (but it is by far the most cumbersome) to identify who is sending you junk
faxes is to enable a call trap on your phone line. After getting a junk fax,
dial *57, and log the date and time on the fax. You can then either send a
subpoena to the phone company or get a case number from the sheriff and send a
subpoena to them. That will get you the number that called. Then you have to
find the owner of those numbers which you can do via Abika as described on Investigation tools.
A better way is to sue the advertiser who sent you the fax and offer to drop
your suit in return for them providing proof of who they used to transmit the
faxes. This works better if you've actually sued and won and can then send them
proof you aren't joking.
The simplest way to determine which broadcaster sent your fax is through
examination of the headers, then use the removal number recordings to confirm
Do the following:
- Sort your faxes into piles based on the similarity of the headers.
- You will probably end up with 5 or fewer BIG piles for faxes sent from the
major broadcasters, and a pile for "one of a kind" headers or no
are a lot of direct junk faxes...these will have headers specific to the
- Focus on the 4 or 5 big piles where you have a bunch of faxes all with
identical style headers.
- If the types of faxes are MIXED (e.g., stock, mortgage, etc), but the
headers are the same, then it probably means you have a fax broadcaster. If
the faxes all have very similar types of offers (e.g., all travel faxes),
you might be dealing with a company who is directly sending faxes.
- Use the Header identification section below to identify the broadcaster
that sent you each pile. If that fails, see the next step.
- Select a couple of faxes from each pile. Call the removal number on the
faxes. Is the recording the same in each case? If so, use the chart below to
confirm that the removal number recording gives you the same broadcaster
that you determined in Step 4.
- If you want to sue them and get the money you are legally entitled to, see
Junkfax registration for lawsuit participation.
There is no charge for this service or to join the lawsuits.
- If you have lots of faxes that are not identifiable by the process below
(i.e., the headers don't match the table below), save them. This page will
be updated periodically with new ways to identify broadcasters.
Broadcaster links below with a * lead to a different site and do not have
links to the subpoenaed information. We'll have pages on these broadcasters in
the near future.
||Removal Recording starts with
||Remove # example
||They are now kaput so you'll never
be able to hear this recording anymore so use the header
identification rules below. Here's what the recording used to
say: "Thank you for calling our automated
entry system. Please listen carefully ..."
Protus IP Solutions
||"welcome to the toll free fax number
removal service. To remove..." (old recording prior
to November 2004)
Protus IP Solutions
||"thank you for calling the fax
removal hotline. Enter the 10 digit telephone you wished to have
removed. Press the # key when finished."Protus.MP3
||"You have reached the fax number
removal line. Starting with the area code, please dial your 10
digit fax number"
||888 217 8253
||"Please enter the 10 digit fax
number you wish to have removed from our list followed by the #
||"Please listen carefully and select
from one of the following..."
||"Hello. If we have sent you a fax in
error, please press 1 to remove your number..."
||"To be removed from our list, please
enter your 3 digit area code and 7 digit fax number. Please do
not enter a 1 before the area code."
||"to be removed from our list, please
enter your 3 digit area code and 7 digit fax number. please do
not enter a 1 before the area code."
||at least 3 variations: "welcome to the fax removal system.
To remove your fax number, please enter your 10 digit fax number
including the area code." alternates with "you have
reached the fax removal number. if you no longer wish to
receive our faxes, ...." and "welcome to the toll
free fax number removal service. to have your fax number
(note: they dial numbers from the fax.com database)
Headers are modified each time to make them look different and
they use multiple removal recordings, changing the voices
Jan 06 2005 07:23 Travel Center ->
12135551212 Page 1 of 1
Jan 06 2005 07:23 Travel Center 12135551212
||other recordings to be supplied
soon...check back later...
||This recording alternates in an attempt to
trick you. The voices don't match either recording of the
"authentic" broadcaster. This is a method for
unscrupulous broadcasters to have you think someone else sent
|Xpedite (a business unit of Ptek
The most accurate method is to look at the headers. Here's a quick and dirty
identification guide to the top 3 broadcasters (in the example, we suppose your
fax number is 213-555-1212).
<- 1 213 555-1212
9/08/04 10:46:40 ->
2135551212 <- 1 213
note that the use of <- phonenumber -> is unique to fax.com
16:47 09/07/04 PG 001
Fm:Stocks To Watch To:
17:44 01/12/04 EST Pg 1-
There are a few variants but these are the most common ones (90% of the
time). Detailed instructions are on the page for each broadcaster,
Content similarity with a pre-investigated fax
Another option is to use this fax search engine at John "Doppler"
Schiff's site. That system searches on broadcaster (and aliases), client (and aliases),
remove #, contact #, and ID (e.g., PIN #, stock symbol). Stock symbol tracking
was added only recently. Unfortunately, that site is no longer alive.
You can also compare your junk faxes to those archived here so you can show
that you weren't the "only one" to have gotten the fax: Davis Fields Junk Faxes
Similarity with content on the web
Try a web search on the removal number or response number. Or a key part of
the offer or company name, if it is mentioned. You can often use info on the
website to find out who they are.
Always save all your faxes: that gives you a lot of leverage in negotiations
and will result in higher settlements.
To take action, see I've been faxed. What are my options?
For more info, see: