Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

SPAM and junk email complaints

Computer1-366x244Modern electronic communications has changed our lives in dramatic ways. Email, faxes and wireless messages now make it possible to exchange information with each other anytime, from anywhere.

Unfortunately, these services are sometimes misused. Deceptive and unwanted messages can transform email and other messaging systems from useful tools into time-consuming tasks. The General Assembly passed Pennsylvania?s Unsolicited Telecommunications Advertisement Act in an effort to curb the flow of misleading email, faxes and wireless messages.

This new law prohibits electronic advertisements that include any of the following:

  • False or misleading information in the subject line.
  • False or misleading return addresses.
  • Lack of a valid return email address or toll-free number which can be used to ?opt out? of future messages.
  • Unsolicited advertisement messages sent to a cell phone.

Receiving Spam is not limited to email but is also sent through other communication media such as facsimile, instant messaging, text messaging, online gaming messaging and "spamdexing" which is manipulating rank in a search engine relevancy list.

Many websites, which include a public access database, are implementing human authentication procedures as a means to thwart electronic mass searching which might overload or infect the website owner's mainframe capabilities. If approval to enter a website database is based upon a consumer entering a prescribed random series of letters or numbers into a text box, the consumer has confirmed he is not another computer.

The Office of Attorney General has included a variety of resources on this website to help you learn more about Pennsylvania's new unsolicited telecommunications law, as well as to identify the differences between legal and illegal electronic messages. There is also a detailed complaint form that you can complete if you feel that a message you have received violates Pennsylvania law.