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What Can You Do to Stop Junk Faxes?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the as-if-spam-and-telemarketers-weren't-bad-enough dept.

Communications 156

olddoc asks: "I am having a growing problem with junk faxes. Unlike email, it costs me money when I get a fax so junk faxes really tick me off. A while ago, I gave my number to a removal number and now I am getting more junk faxes than ever." What options are there for dealing with this? If you've also had this problem, what did you do and how effective was it in stopping unwanted faxes?

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Get with the times (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19003479)

And get rid of your fax machine!

Better Solution (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004277)

Kill yourself. Not only will the world be better off without you, but it will solve all of life's problems for you.

Re:Get with the times (2, Informative)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004623)

Or look at the google ad under the post (I'm seeing eFax there).

We use that where I work and it's quite nice. It e-mails you when you recieve a fax and there is an application that you use to send them...you can send word documents, PDFs, or it interfaces directly with a scanner.

Unfortunately I don't know how much the service costs, it was in place before I begain working there.

We do persuade our customers and vendors to use e-mail as much as possible (sheet-feed scanners are not very expensive)...we used to have 20 numbers through eFax and have managed to remove five of them in a few months. If we had to, we could probably axe 5 more of them.

Receive faxes to computer, then print (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19003481)

I'd be surprised if there's not a fax machine with this capability already.

Solution (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19003485)

Fax them back with a bunch of black paper taped into a loop.

Re:Solution (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19003509)

Or send them an endless Tub Girl loop...

Re:Solution (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004991)

Alas, the black paper loop isn't as effective a weapon against junk faxers as it once was. Nowadays, the best you can hope for is to use up their toner cartridge. Back in the days when fax machines used thermal printing, attempting to print a continuous black sheet could actually overheat and destroy the expensive printhead.

Re:Solution (2, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005617)

And using black tape to use toner that covers more than 5% of the paper isn't???

Sorry but most thermal faxes worth half their weight have a high temp cutoff.

Yield for a toner based printing device is based upon 5% of coverage per page.

Re:Solution (4, Insightful)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19006691)

I'd imagine these Fax Spammers are using computers with modems to do the dialing so if a fax is 'sent' back to them (assuming they even receive faxes) they will probably go into the bit bucket - not cause an actual printout.

DNC (0)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003503)

Return the favour with a message to the effect of "take this number off your call list". If it continues, you can go to the authorities to get them fined for huge amounts. Supposedly.

Re:DNC (2, Interesting)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003651)

The DNC lists allow companies to call you if you've "done business" with them in the past (forgot how long). Depending on which removal service he used, and their terms of use, he may have no recourse against those additional faxes. Which is similar to the reason why so many companies offer free stuff for returning a card, so they can call you for like two years.

Re:DNC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19003729)

Don't forget to invert the colors on said message - make them run out of toner before you ;-)

Re:DNC (4, Interesting)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003769)

A friend with a couple of businesses had a fax spam problem and had requested that the worst (by far) offender please stop wasting their time and his by sending any more faxed offers. He made several more polite voice and faxed requests when they persisted in sending the faxes.

Finally, he printed out a couple of pages with large letters asking to please remove his business from their list, giving his name, fax and phone numbers. He then taped the pages together into an endless loop and faxed his request to be removed. I think he said that his fax log showed that it sent for about two hours before cutting off. Amazingly, he got no more junk faxes from that particular spammer. :)

Nice urban legend (4, Insightful)

zoikes (182347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004071)

Nice idea, but it never happened... i defy you to find a usable fax number on any of the junk faxes you receive.

Another story in a similar vein is slapping those business-reply-by-mail envelopes on a brick -- recepient pays ALL necessary postage. :)

Re:Nice urban legend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004455)

It's called CALLER ID.

Re:Nice urban legend (1)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004489)

Nice idea, but it never happened...


It did indeed happen. I know someone that actually did this, slashdot user RockClimb (235954) and good friend for over 20 years.

Re:Nice urban legend (1)

zoikes (182347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19006377)

ok -- i'll believe you... The fax spammer's gotta be a moron to include a return fax number
but then again, they *are* spammers...

Re:Nice urban legend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19007189)

They don't need to include a return number- just check the Caller ID. No Caller ID? The fax machine doesn't pick up. Simple. Effective.

PC FAX for receiving. (5, Informative)

ViXX0r (188100) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003523)

At our office we turned off auto-answer on the fax machine proper and set up FAX receiving on a PC plugged into the FAX line to receive them. Now all the incoming faxes are just saved in the computer. The ones we want we print out, the spam you can just delete.

Re:PC FAX for receiving. (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003789)

Same here. My corp. offices set up a fax server (RightFax) and have an different 800 number for each office that wants one. Cut WAY down on the junk faxes, and since the email comes into a group mail box we can use standard filters (via phone numbers).

Re:PC FAX for receiving. (1)

Steinfiend (700505) | more than 7 years ago | (#19006755)

We use RightFax also, we have 400 DIDs piped into it. We get probably 2 spam faxes a day per DID. Yes we can delete them, but they still take up times and space on the 8 channels we have coming in. They all come from one specific spammer (currently called My Hot Leads) who, according to (http://www.junkfax.org/fax/profiles/MyHotLeads.ht m) have been sued, are being sued, have been threatened with jail time, but still will not quit.

I hate email spammers as much as the next guy, but I can do a lot to stop email spam before it costs me any significant time, money or resources. Fax spam however, by it's very nature has already cost me all of these for it to come into the building. I've never been an angry person, but if I ever find myself in Addison, Texas, I may have to stop in and see these guys. Just to say hi you understand, nothing else, certainly no fiber cutting involved at all...

Re:PC FAX for receiving. (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004467)

Been doing this since my first decent 56k modem could handle 100 faxes a day.

Artillery (2, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003547)

I've always favored artillery barrages. Gets the point across nicely.

It's polite to use small guns (37mm to 75mm) as a first warning, then if they persist bring in the 155mm guns.

The biggest troublemakers are no match to an Iowa-class 16" rifle.

Re:Artillery (2, Funny)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003745)

If everything fails they'll probably listen to Reason.

Re:Artillery (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004107)

"Reason" is what you call your 5 megaton thermonuclear device, I assume?

No, that's "polite request" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004153)

Reason is its big brother.

Re:Artillery (2, Funny)

theCoder (23772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004457)

I think the OP was referring to Reason [wikipedia.org] , the rail gun used in "Snow Crash". Everybody eventually listens to Reason.

Re:Artillery (1)

rjforster (2130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004351)

Yes. My first thoughts were "NTSFO ITOWTBS".

The full version of the original begins "I say we take off and..", you can work out the rest.

Re:Artillery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004379)

Wow, you must be American...

Re:Artillery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004429)

Because he has persuasive arguments?

Re:Artillery (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004935)

Right up until the last line I thought you were talking about Font sizes..

Best option. (1)

normuser (1079315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003573)

The best option I know of is to use a computer with a modem as a fax mechine. I have done this and it works rather well. you will also be able to "email" fax mechines with this setup.

There are also some services to email your faxes to you, prices range from a couple bucks to $25 a month. I havent used eny of these so I cant say if one is better then another. But if your looking in that direction google for "internet fax service"

Get Rid of it. (5, Insightful)

Drexus (826859) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003617)

We had junk faxes to the amount that it represented 90% of what it was used for. Then we got rid of it. If they can't email it, mail it, or call us. Then we don't want their business.

Re:Get Rid of it. (2, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004203)

That's my thought exactly. Who really uses faxes any more anyway? It's about as relevant as an 8-track...

In fact, I'm highly annoyed anytime I have to actually send a fax. My company's tuition reimbursement vendor requires faxes.. but get this... you have to go on the website to fill out and create a PDF form that you then download, print and fax back to them. And of course, when I go to use the stupid machine, its out-tray is filled with junk faxes.

Who needs this crappy technology from the 70s anyway? Especially when it costs so much. Like you said, email, mail, or call.

If it weren't the only way to get my tuition forms, I would never fax. It's the only thing I've faxed in years.

Re:Get Rid of it. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005073)

Who really uses faxes any more anyway?

We have a fax machine at work mainly because there are an awful lot of shops and businesses who do not have a networked computer nearby.
If there is an issue with a document printed from our software, or an adjustment to the flow is wanted, its 1000's of times better to let them make notes on the printout and fax it to us than going through a whole list of hardware/software requirements and assuming the system is configured to work with it and that they know how to find and use the software and to be able to actually scan or export the document directly to file for emailing it over (after switching the internet on first).

It really is simpler to just get them to fax, and there's not been a customer I have spoken with who *couldn't* just fax :)

Can't Get Rid of it. (5, Informative)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005089)

Faxes are official legal copies of documents. Email attachments are not.

Anyone who has to send a signed or legal documents quickly - a fax is the only option unless you send it via courier.

email now legal for some things in UK (2, Informative)

pbhj (607776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005637)

There was a change in the law here in the UK in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 meaning that emails and electronic carriers with docs on could be accepted in certain circumstances by courts and tribunals (etc.). I think however that they can still specify fax as being the only allowed electronic mode of communicating a document.

Which means that there are circumstances in which you are wrong.

Indeed certain places like UKIPO request email in preference for eg post-grant amendments.

FWIW.

How can faxes be legal, if so easily spoofed? (2, Interesting)

KWTm (808824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005679)

I am not disagreeing with your assertion that, currently, faxes seem to have some legal standing.

But do people not realize how easily they can be forged and spoofed? The facsimile machine is technology from the 80's that has no authentication mechanism. It would be so easily spoofed with a fax modem! You could set up a fax that would seemingly come from, say, the office of the CEO, with letterhead and fax header to correspond, and even a signature would be a simple matter to attach.

Not long after Win2k came out, there was some situation where I had to send some fax with my signature on it to some company --something about giving written notice to my cable company that I really did want to stop my cable service, or something like that --I can't remember now. But I had no fax machine, just a digital camera. So I signed a blank sheet of paper, photographed my signature, pulled the photo into the computer and posterized it into some 4-bit grayscale with GIMP, stuck it into some OpenOffice.org letter, and then printed it to fax via Win2k. It worked, and after that I kept the PNG image of my signature around in case I had to use it for something similar.

Does that still work? It's so easy to manipulate a digital image of people's signature nowadays. The signatures of some corporate executives are even freely distributed! You get junk mail saying, "Dear [insert your own name here]: I am writing to personally tell you how much we value you as a customer, [bla bla] signed Joseph L. Presidente, CEO, Fortune 500 Company" followed by their frigg'n signature. How hard is that to cut&paste into some fax to some hotel saying, "To Whom It May Concern: I verify that I, Joseph L. Presidente, have agreed to pay all accommodation expenses incurred by [insert your name here] during his stay," or something similar.

The facsimile is a valuable tool, but the authority which people attach to them is misplaced. People need to get a clue about digital signatures, or deal with being a victim of social engineering.

Faxes still have *some* usefulness.. (1)

Rearden82 (923468) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005611)

Sometimes I need to send a document that I only have on paper, a signed contract, a copy of my photo ID, etc.

Sure, fax machines are annoying. But it's nothing compared to firing up a scanner, previewing and setting it up to capture the right area, exporting to a PDF or other common format, attaching to an email, and hoping it doesn't get canned by their mail server's file size limit or attachment-blocking policies. And why spend 15 bucks to overnight a letter when it can be sent in 2 minutes for the cost of a phone call?

Sure, email is superior in many ways, but fax machines will still be convenient and relevant until we all work in paperless offices. In other words, pretty much forever. Telling people to avoid junk faxes by getting rid of them altogether is about as helpful as telling someone to get rid of their phone if they are bothered by telemarketers.

Anyway, we use a PC w/ a fax modem to receive faxes where I work. Deleting junk faxes is just as easy as deleting junk emails.

Re:Get Rid of it. (1)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004979)

I think the advantage of faxes is that they've been around long enough and they're simple enough that a significant number of people have learned to use them who still don't know how to do a scan and attach it to an email. I think there is also legal precedent for limited recognition of faxed contracts that may not apply to email attachments.

Re:Get Rid of it. (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19006873)

We had junk faxes to the amount that it represented 90% of what it was used for. Then we got rid of it. If they can't email it, mail it, or call us. Then we don't want their business.

Every car dealership relies on the fax machine to expedite funding of deals. Sure, you can courier the documents to their funding centre but that delays funding by as much as 24 hours and costs a lot more than dropping them into the fax machine. When each deal requires upwards of 15-20 pages, averaging 5 deals delivered per business day that's a lot of paper to scan, save and e-mail. In the end it's a lot easier to drop them into the top tray, hit the appropriate speed dial button and press "Go".

When you're getting anywhere between $50-500k per day with your fax machine, you tend to pay for the upkeep and put up with the junk faxes.

Removal doesn't help (2, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003621)

By law, faxes in the U.S. must have a "call to remove" number. But I discovered that the number does not work via a little experiment. I called the removal line, entered a different number (a voice line that had never received faxes), and then (within a few days) started receiving fax calls on the voice line. It's just like the email spammers that use victim's unsubscribe notices to signal that they have a live recipient. I'm sure a legal-minded soul could use this behavior to honeypot the faxers, but IANAL.

I've also thought about creating an autodialer script to call the fax removal line and submit every number in the phonebook to it. A simple script could send Hayes commands to a modem to dial the removal line, wait X seconds (or punch "1" to remove or whatever), and then send another dial command to submit bogus removal numbers. Poisoning their DB of faxable numbers would make the return per dialed number much much lower.

Re:Removal doesn't help (4, Informative)

goodie3shoes (573521) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003723)

Here's the US FCC's info on junk faxes http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/unwantedfaxes .html [fcc.gov] Interesting that the business advertised is liable even if they didn't send the fax. But this doesn't really help. Since the senders are scumbags, one can't be surprised that they don't follow the rules. Why couldn't software scan received faxes for telltale signs of junk such as "Cancun", "vacation", "To all Employees", and trash them as we do with email filters?

SPAM becomes CAPTCHA (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003943)

Why couldn't software scan received faxes for telltale signs of junk such as "Cancun", "vacation", "To all Employees", and trash them as we do with email filters?
Because faxes have to be OCR'd. Spammers would just use techniques similar to those used in visual CAPTCHAs to distort keywords, similar to the "CA|\|CUN" obfuscation performed by e-mail spam tools. Pump and dump spammers are already doing this with their stock pitches that they attach as an image.

Re:SPAM becomes CAPTCHA (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004239)

That's easy. If the OCR fails, just junk the fax as it's probably not readable anyway. If the sender really wants to you get it, they'll call.

You don't support customers who want to send messages on an 8-track. Why support them on outdated and pointless technology like faxes?

Re:SPAM becomes CAPTCHA (1)

mountiealpha (731251) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005005)

A small machine shp in the area receives most of their RFQs, orders and prints as faxes. I suppose it could be possible to set up a computer to do what you suggest, but who has the time to do that?

Re:SPAM becomes CAPTCHA (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004937)

Why couldn't software scan received faxes for telltale signs of junk such as "Cancun", "vacation", "To all Employees", and trash them as we do with email filters?
Because faxes have to be OCR'd.
Given that we already have OCR technology working with SPAM filters that can detect even distorted text, [apache.org] it doesn't seem such an unreasonable idea.

Re:SPAM becomes CAPTCHA (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005011)

But how much CPU time does this OCR technology use for a server that manages several incoming fax lines?

Re:Removal doesn't help (2, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004625)

By law, faxes in the U.S. must have a "call to remove" number. But I discovered that the number does not work via a little experiment. I called the removal line, entered a different number (a voice line that had never received faxes), and then (within a few days) started receiving fax calls on the voice line.

Next time, put in the FCC's complaint line phone number.

Re:Removal doesn't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19006693)

Contrary to what a reasonable person may think, that won't move the FCC do anything. The FCC is *reactive*, not proactive. Personally, I use Congresswoman Pelosi's congressional office phone number when I respond to a "call to remove" number.

Re:Removal doesn't help (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 7 years ago | (#19007031)

Or better yet, 911. Instant fun.

If in the UK... (3, Informative)

KingDaveRa (620784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003631)

http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/fps/ [mpsonline.org.uk] - the Fax Preference Service works wonders in stopping junk faxes. Same goes for the Phone Preference Service, and the Mail Preference Service.

Not a lot of help if you're in the rest of the world, but still - this could be useful to somebody!

Re:If in the UK... (2, Interesting)

bhima (46039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003673)

There was a guy around here that successfully sued a junk fax marketer for a few K.

It was in his sig and journal for ages.

If I recall he bought a new top end PowerMac and Cinema Display with it.

Sue. (2, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003643)

I imagine if you put your fax number on the "do not call" registry, there's some legal compunction not to perform any sort of unsolicited transactions using that number.

Re:Sue. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004443)

Junk faxes are already illegal with hefty fines for those who send them. That this does not deter the practice would imply that being on a "do not call" registry would have no additional effect. In fact - there are individuals who have a long history of operating shell corporations to side-step massive fines incured through their "business" practices.

Re:Sue. (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004515)

Sure, you can sue, but it isn't going to get you anywhere.

No lawyer wants to waste their time with this sort of thing because most of the senders are nearly untracable. You can waste your own time on it, but very few people actually even get the senders to stop.

I usually just sink the offending Junk (1, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003687)

I keep a fleet of submarines specially for this purpose.

retaliate - fax them back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19003703)

If your fax number is on a DNC list, you should have some legal recourse for businesses who ignore this list, but any resolution would likely not be a speedy one.

OTOH, you could retaliate. Tape two or three pieces of black paper end-to-end, then these two ends together to make a continous loop of black paper in your fax machine. Send this black fax to them for awhile which should take care of their tonner/ink cartridge. (This won't t have a high quotient of annoyance if they are using an electronic fax service.)

Also, you could publish their phone/fax number on the Internet. I've seen forums that where this is done, and it becomes kind of a DOS attach against businesses who appear to ignore the DNC list in their telephone spaming.

I hope you don't pile on to those (3, Insightful)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003895)

Also, you could publish their phone/fax number on the Internet. I've seen forums that where this is done, and it becomes kind of a DOS attach against businesses who appear to ignore the DNC list in their telephone spaming.


How do you know the submitter is not a competitor or otherwise has malicious intent? Let the law handle it, don't do the same thing you're accusing them of doing. What's the difference between you? Intention means nothing when the actions are the same.

Re:I hope you don't pile on to those (2, Insightful)

fredklein (532096) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004525)

Intention means nothing when the actions are the same.


Bullshit.

Let's take a simple situation: Man 'A' pulls out a gun and shoots man 'B'.

You mean to tell me there is no difference between the following scenarios:

1) Man 'A' is mentally disturbed, and not taking his medication. He thinks man 'B' is an alien. Man 'A' pulls out a gun and shoots man 'B'.

2) Man 'A' is a cop. He sees a punk (man 'B') beating up an old lady. he tells 'B' to dtop. 'B' reaches into his pocket and yells "I'll kill you, pig!" Man 'A' pulls out a gun and shoots man 'B'.

3) Man 'A' is a punk. He's beating a little old lady when a cop (man 'B') shows up. Man 'A' pulls out a gun and shoots man 'B'.

Re:I hope you don't pile on to those (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004699)

How do you know the submitter is not a competitor or otherwise has malicious intent?
I don't advocate virtual vigilantism. But where's the logic in the above question? If a [fax] spamer is advertising a business or service, how would they expect positive results if they obfuscate their contact information? It is just not where the incentive is.

It's difficult to understand how it ultimately would benifit someone to promote a product or service, then proxy a competitor's contact information in their advertisement. OTOH, if it's a spamer's desire to just generate "noise" in a marketing channel, then the bigger the nuisance they are, I suppose the more successful their effort could be judged.

In the end, it seems that almost every human activity is influenced by self-interest.

Re:I hope you don't pile on to those (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19006913)

How do you know the submitter is not a competitor or otherwise has malicious intent? Let the law handle it, don't do the same thing you're accusing them of doing. What's the difference between you? Intention means nothing when the actions are the same.

Easy solution; phone the business (block your phone number first; *67 works here in Ontario, Canada), tell them you received an interesting fax about their business and gauge their reaction to it. If it's a positive "Oh, great, we were hoping that would work!" kind of reaction, feel free to publish their info on a "These People Are Scum Peddlers" website. If it's a "Oh, sorry about that, I don't know how it got there" kind of reaction you know where you stand.

Digital Fax Modem with internal memory or ... (4, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003735)

A USB fax modem with memory is handy for this sort of thing. Just delete the ones you don't want, archive/print/whatever the rest.
A better idea is to install a tolled number as your fax number. You can actually do both. Fax modem *and* tolled number. 1/2$ per call. Then post your fax number everywhere. Instant profit. You'll have ROI for your fax modem in an instance. You get just get the best there is with no need to worry. Zyxel used to have some with internal memory that ran on their own with no PC needed. Refinance your real customers who fax you stuff in their next bills.

How Much do you need faxes? (0)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003765)

I'd say that faxes are a disappearing technology. Last year I finally stopped maintaining a dedicated fax line. It had reached the point where I was receiving several junk faxes each week, and only one or two legitimate faxes each month.

Between e-mail and PDF it just wasn't cost effective anymore.

I now use the fax machine for outgoing once or twice a month, and if I really need to receive we just arrange a time when I'm sitting next to the machine and trigger it manually.

I'd agree though that if you're one of those businesses that still has to receive lots of faxes (and there are better technologies now days) then the PC based solution makes sense.

Can you even buy Winfax any more??

Re:How Much do you need faxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004253)

A signature in an email isn't legally binding. A signature on a fax recieved into a computer then printed out later might not be either.

Re:How Much do you need faxes? (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004533)

A signature in an email isn't legally binding.

While it is legal on a fax in many places, it shouldn't be. Haven't any of these legislators heard of Photoshop?

Re:How Much do you need faxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19005197)

What's the big deal? That's already covered as "forgery".

Re:How Much do you need faxes? (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005645)

That's already covered as "forgery"

Okay... It's a lot harder to prove forgery on a fax, when a forged signature is indistinguishable from a fake one.

Re:How Much do you need faxes? (3, Informative)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004469)

I'd say that faxes are a disappearing technology.

As much as I'd like to agree with you (because I think there are many better solutions), I can't. I work for a company that processes insurance claims and many of our claims are submitted via fax. Until about 6 months ago, they had 8 or 9 fax machines receiving the faxes, but they could barely keep up. Then, I replaced them with a couple of servers - 16 lines each - running Hylafax. On average, we're receiving 800 to 900 faxes a day, but during January and February, we were averaging around 1400.

Re:How Much do you need faxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19005667)

But what alternatives do you offer?

If it's like most insurance companies I've seen, the only alternatives are "send it by post, and we'll get back to you in a couple months, maybe", or "send us all your personal info over unencrypted email, and we'll do it this week".

When you give people no serious alternatives, yes, they're going to use faxes more. It's nobody's fault but your own.

Uhhhhh..... (1, Funny)

balance one (871091) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003861)

What's a FAX?

Simple (2, Insightful)

kmsigel (306018) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003901)

My fax machine is only turned on when I'm sending a fax. If somebody wants to send me something they must do it through email.

Ummmm (1, Redundant)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 7 years ago | (#19003963)

Unlike email, it costs me money when I get a fax so junk faxes really tick me off.
I'd debate the idea that junk email doesn't cost money.....

Re:Ummmm (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004115)

Exactly. The costs are hidden in the infrastructure. Bandwidth isn't free.

hit em back (2, Insightful)

matsenerd (957582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004089)

My favorite technique is to respond with a "Do not call" fax, but make it white text on a black background. It will use up a lot of their toner and it gets the point across.

Re:hit em back (4, Insightful)

cskrat (921721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004291)

For all the suggestions that eating their toner is a nice way to retaliate.

I seriously doubt it. They are most likely using an auto-dialing script on a PC fax-modem so that they can cut out the cost and hassle associated with having a live person man the fax machine feeding it junk all day. And if you can actually get through to send a fax in the 1/2 second between numbers on the script, your fax will either be deleted, ignored or treated as a confirmation that your number works without ever going to paper.

You can bet these spammers have put more thought into what you can do to them than you have and have even experienced attempts at retaliation from other persons like minded to yourself. As such don't expect them to be vulnerable to such naive attempts at breaking their system. The best recourse is going to be either changing your number, setting up electronic reception of faxes or contacting relevant and credible legal authorities.

What about when you don't have a fax machine? (2, Interesting)

santiago (42242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004375)

Does anyone have any good advice on what to do if you get junk faxes and don't even have a fax machine? Apparently my home phone number was once a business's fax line, and we periodically get what must be junk faxes at odd hours of the night. How do we deal with this crap if we don't own any fax machine (or even a modem) to waste time reading the messages and contacting the fake unsubscribe numbers that won't do any good anyways?

Re:What about when you don't have a fax machine? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004647)

Find some way of recording which number it's from, then do a reverse lookup on 411.com, then bring in a landshark.

Else, get an X11 device or similar that will kill power to your answering machine between the hours of x and y.

Re:What about when you don't have a fax machine? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004661)

Er, s/X11/X10/.

Re:What about when you don't have a fax machine? (1)

phayes (202222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004653)

I've heard of people who setup an asterisk server to take care of all their junk Fax/telephone calls. As asterisk can filter calls based on caller-ID, friends & family are passed through without encumbrance. All other calls get picked up by asterisk which shunts Fax calls off to a fax line or can store the faxes locally so that you can filter out the spam later.

Re:What about when you don't have a fax machine? (1)

Skreech (131543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004729)

My first inclination would be to attempt to receive the fax, not only is there a lack of ways to do so in your situation but it's quite a bit more trouble than you deserve for someone calling you with a fax machine...

I don't know of a solution that doesn't cost money. I don't think the phone company will do anything for free. You could have your number changed, though depending on how long you've had it already it might be quite a bother and, again, more trouble than you deserve. You could disconnect your phone at night, which would be quite annoying and a hazard, I think. A good try would be to tell the phone company you've been "harassed" with phone calls at night, fax or human doesn't matter. Aren't records kept to allow them to see which numbers call? Should be... I wouldn't put it below them to try to sell you Caller-ID on the very same call. (Don't)

But mostly I'm thinking of how I dropped having a land-line altogether as it's such a bother.

Re:What about when you don't have a fax machine? (1)

danlock4 (1026420) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004781)

I had exactly that problem for a long time at my last residence. My number was one digit different from a local government fax number and I often had fax machines trying to call me.

When I got a fax call, I activated my fax modem and downloaded the fax, which stopped the offending fax machine from trying to call my number (until the next time). It was kind of funny to receive "private" faxes that were covered with "for internal use only" messages, etc., but it was annoying when the fax machines kept calling back and wouldn't give up until I used the fax modem to receive the calls.

Finally, I got frustrated with the annoyance and sent a fax back to the originating number which indicated that my number was not the one they wanted, etc., repeated several times.

After that, I had no more offending fax calls. YMMV.

Re:What about when you don't have a fax machine? (1)

DeanPentcheff (103656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005235)

In most cases, I think your only alternative is to change your phone number (the phone company will do this without charge if you explain the reason).

The problem is that the faxes are most likely coming in because of a typographical error in an advertisement (or business listing). That means that they come from multiple different sources, so you can't simply block the one source for all the faxes.

We had this trouble because of a wrong area code posted for an insurance company's claim-filing fax machine. Dozens of calls from dozens of lawyers' fax machines. Of course, the new number we have is listed as the contact number for some scam artists (unknown to us) who generate regular bill-collection phone calls. But that's another problem...

Easy... (1)

HRogge (973545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004483)

here in Germany there is an easy option. Phone calls are cheaper during the night, so just use a time to switch the fax of between 22:00 and 06:00... no spam faxes left.

Live with it (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004563)

Mostly, there are no alternatives other than something like changing your fax number or turning off the ability to receive faxes.

If you can live with not getting purchase orders and the like faxed in, you can just turn it off. Email isn't a solution - it is unreliable. What is the difference between a company using email and a spammer, anyway?

Legally, you would think that someone would be able to stop a business from sending illegal faxes. The problem is that you, as the recipient can sue but the police can't just step in an arrest and fine them. So to really make them stop you would need to get a large number of recipients together. A law firm was trying to collect on junk faxes this way years ago until they realized nobody was spending the time to follow through.

Yes, junk faxes cost you money. Suing the sender will cost more time and more money. So much so that it is a better deal for most people to just eat the cost and ignore it.

Take one for the team (1, Troll)

Bronster (13157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004651)

Find whoever is sending them and go kill them. Messily. Publically.

You'll go to jail for a long time, but the chilling effect it has on the rest of the spammers out there will make you a fricking hero to the rest of us.

(if you're lucky, "the rest of us" includes your parole board. If you're super extra lucky it includes your jury!)

#include - this is Funny not Informative ok mods. Sheesh.

Re:Take one for the team (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19005113)

"Find whoever is sending them and go kill them. Messily. Pubic-ly."

There, I fixed that typo for you.

How about ... (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005437)

just sawing a limb off? :-)

It should reduce sentence times but still have the same chilling effect.

Use a call blocker (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19004847)

The following product works like a charm for me at home with junk calls:

http://www.privacycorps.com/products/ [privacycorps.com]

I'm surprised that more companies don't sell things like this. If it were cheaper and sold in box stores everyone would probably have one. It's a little pricy, but I love the results.

Old laptop with a fax/modem. (1)

Wrenzo (783216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19004943)

The company I used to work for had a spare laptop with a fax/modem on it. It stored the faxes in a shared directory where everyone could get at them. People deleted the spam and printed the ones they wanted if they actually wanted a printout. We set the fax/modem to answer after fewer rings than the fax machine would, so in case the laptop crashed or something, the fax machine would be the fallback.

A couple comments (2, Informative)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005059)

Junk faxes here really slowed down after coverage of the enforcement of junk fax legislation started to hit the mainstream media. I guess that was in the late 90s sometime. We still get a few from time to time. Although now that I think of it, this decrease also probably coincided with an increase in spam, which probably has more to do with it (cheaper, easier, wider base of victims).

Here's a wikipedia page with information about what can be done legally against junk fax senders in the US, if it's bad enough that you want to take the time to go after them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_fax [wikipedia.org]

The solution, although not so much a solution as a better system, is to use fax server software or an online fax service. I run a local fax server here. Faxes come in and are routed via email to the secretary who was at one time responsible for pulling paper faxes off the old fax machine. This person then routes the fax to the appropriate person, and acts as a junk fax filter :) There are four major benefits to software faxing: 1) You'll save money because there are no consumables to buy, and because of this the cost of receiving a junk fax is the same as receiving a junk email as long as you don't pay per minute on your phone line. 2) Routing faxes through email is much more effective than tossing paper into a physical inbox, especially if you have to make copies of faxes for multiple people. 3) Many fax servers will enable your employees to send a fax by simply printing to a special fax printer on their computer, saving time, money, etc. 4) The quality of received faxes, and especially outgoing faxes, is considerably improved.

I do sympathize with you. Especially if you're working with a lot of international companies (assuming you're in the US, if not sorry), sometimes you simply have to be able to accept faxed documents to keep customers happy. You might encourage them to start using email, perhaps by pointing out the financial benefits. Also, a lot of people might not know about simple tools like pdfcreator with which they can print and send a purchase order via email right from their existing accounting software.

I do object to your comment implying that junk email doesn't cost anything. Perhaps if you're working for a small outfit with hosted email it doesn't appear to cost anything. My mail server here processes a hundred thousand spam messages per month, and we're a pretty small outfit. This definitely costs real money in terms of hardware and software support, and most importantly employee time (I guarantee that people spend more time going through their junk email or flagging email as junk than they do looking at junk faxes).

Re:A couple comments (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19006849)

Could you describe your software solution in more detail? What package are you using. Does it run on Linux or is it a commercial Windows app? I'd be interested in setting up something similar. Thanks

Solution - get new technology. (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005139)

Writefax or similar software on a PC will accept any faxes - then you can view them from any workstation, delete the junk and print the good ones. It doesn't even have to be a modern PC... any old Pentium 3 with a relative small amount of ram and storage will trump any modern fax machine.

And even a bonus, this gives you a digital copy for easy archival to network backup, tape, optical media, or removable thumb drive.

Seriously a fax machine is really only useful for sending faxes now a days.

Removal number? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005147)

A while ago, I gave my number to a removal number and now I am getting more junk faxes than ever.
That reminds me of the time my wife went through her spam mail, opened each one, and clicked the unsubscribe link in each one. That did nothing but tell the spammers, "hey, I actually read these!", and she only got more spam.

TCPA (4, Informative)

deblau (68023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005213)

Read this [fcc.gov] . In particular:

The FCC can issue warning citations and impose fines against companies violating or suspected of violating the junk fax rules, but does not award individual damages. If you have received a fax advertisement from someone who does not have an established business relationship with you or to whom you have not provided prior express permission to send fax advertisements, you can file a complaint with the FCC. You can file your complaint by completing the FCC's on-line complaint Form 1088 at: www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html; e-mailing fccinfo@fcc.gov; calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:


Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554.

Get your fax number off of your webpage (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19005231)

I used to have my fax number on my business's webpage (along with the other address information and whatnot). I started receiving a ridiculous number of junk faxes. I then took my fax number off of my webpage and about a year later (i.e. now) I receive maybe one junk fax every two months.

junk faxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19005925)

Well, if (1) it's illegal to send them, and (2) they add your number to all the junk faxing lists when you call to add your number to their "don't fax" lists, why not call the do-not-fax number and add all of the telephone and fax numbers you can find for the FBI, Department of Justice, FCC, IRS, state and local law enforcement, and any other appropriate government offices you can think of. The junkfaxers should find themselves nuked, folded, spindled, mutilated, shredded, stapled, and then jailed, within a couple of months.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (2, Informative)

Scutter (18425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19006495)

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 was not designed to prevent spam (although it's being used that way now). It was designed to stop junk faxes and it really works! Use it! Here's some good info. [junkbusters.com]

Make a business of it! (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19007017)


      One of the people in my neighborhood makes a living suing telephone-spammers. There are some tricks to actually getting a judge to rule in your favor - even when the company has clearly violated the law - but once you know them, it works well. And many don't even bother going to court, they simply send her a $500 check.
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