How to prove in court where your fax came from: over 30 methods
NOTE: This page is in the process of being updated with the latest
Be sure to read How to
identify the fax broadcaster
You never have to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt in court. You just
need to show "preponderance of the evidence" i.e., it is more likely the way you
say it is.
So having a junk fax with a fax.com header and a number that gives the
fax.com removal recording is, in essence, like receiving a fax that has a header
saying "this fax was sent by fax.com" and a removal number saying "to be
removed, please call the fax.com removal number." So this establishes
It's now up to the fax broadcaster to prove the converse is true.
You can make this doubly hard for the broadcaster by subpoening the list of
clients used by the broadcaster along with their contect info. They'll never
comply. So you get to construe that the evidence that they did not produce lists
the advertiser who sent the fax, i.e., their non-compliance will win your case.
If they do comply, you can point out an omission from the list and show they
are not being inclusive and they lose.
So if they do provide a complete list, make a copy and send it to us and
we'll make sure that it is put to good use (which is why they'll never give you
Here are the world's leading fax spammers:
CAUTION: there is some evidence that fax.com used to subcontracts faxing and removal number service to
other broadcasters such as Protus IP Solutions.
So just because the
headers match and the removal recordings sound just like the fax.com ones, there
is still a chance that the fax may not be coming from fax.com!
An educated judge will know of fax.com's history of deceit and may allow
evidence such a "qualifying removal recording" and "qualifying header." Other judges may
Still, it's worthwhile to do whatever you can to have as much evidence as you
Since I know I am going to be appearing in front of the same judge over and
over, I always try to make absolutely sure the fax is from fax.com as many
ways as I can. Otherwise, my credibility is damaged in future cases.
A REAL example
Here's an example of how you prove in court it is fax.com. Remember, your burden
is preponderance of the evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You need
only show it is more likely than not that they sent the fax. But the more
evidence you have, the better.
For example, we got a fax.com fax on 6/30/2004 advertising "Lowest Rates in 45
years!" Carefully study these two
fax.com faxes received in June 2004. Everything we checked was consistent with fax.com:
- Headers contained "<- phonenumber ->" which is a distinct fax.com
"signature" that is not used by other broadcasters
- Removal number was 800-658-8133 which has been traced to fax.com on
- The removal recording had 3 options: delete, add, talk to someone; only
fax.com has 3 options.
- The response number answered as "California Mortgage Services" which is
a known fax.com call center
- When we expressed interest, we were transferred to an admitted (from
other cases) fax.com customer; we knew that because we knew all the people
that worked there from previous research
- the graphic elements share common elements with authenticated fax.com
This is very compelling. Therefore, I always try to make absolutely sure, if possible, to determine
the fax broadcasters.
Exposing the fraud
So here it is, put all together for the first time so you can see the
deception for yourself... 6 different header styles (including none at all)
that are all traced back to fax.com! See fax.com
There are several ways to do that definitively, and I
always try to do at least one of these four ways (the fourth way being the most
innovative), in addition to the 30 methods below:
- The response number is looked up as being assigned to a fax.com entity
(see Investigation tools for
how to lookup ownership of toll free numbers). This can be hard since many
go directly to the advertiser or there is no response number because it is a
pump and dump or because the entity that was used to subscribe the number is
- A fax.com person answers the phone when you call the response number (this
can be hard to tell unless they answer as a known fax.com entity, e.g.,
"California Mortgage Services",
"Consumer Source"). This is rare, but it does happen.
- The removal number gives you 3 options: delete, add, speak to somone
- The removal number sounds like 800-658-8133
- I contact the advertiser, find out who they are, and they admit it was fax.com in return for
your not suing them. This happens on occasion.
- I don't specify which fax was sent by fax.com on the claim. I bring all my
faxes to court. I serve Eric Wilson (or another officer of fax.com) with a subpoena at the
same time as the claim (see WilsonSubpoena.pdf,
but right click on the link and do save Target As... and save to your disk
because if you try to open it directly, it will "clear" itself
after loading) to produce all faxes he's sent since he was ordered to
preserve evidence on July 8, 2003 (see
to preserve evidence issued in San Jose by State Superior Court Judge Jack Komar
on July 8, 2003). If Wilson brings nothing, he's in contempt of court since
we know he's still an employee of fax.com because he just filed a lawsuit
against me (see fax/fdc/WilsonVKirsch.pdf) and
you get to construe that the data he failed to produce is exactly what you
claimed it was. If he brings everything (which should be a big stack since
they have LOTS of employees and send LOTS of faxes), then we have a nice
reference set that other people can use to sue them (or prove he is lying if
he omits one). So either way he loses. If he brings the evidence, I ask the
judge to HOLD the evidence he produces. I can then go ask the clerk for a
copy; it's a public record at that point. Such information is then valuable
for anyone suing fax.com. If he only brings a few faxes, if you can show he
didn't comply, then it's as good as if he had brought nothing, i.e., I can
construe that the missing documents include my fax. He'll also need to
explain to the judge how he knows which faxes are his. He'll have to explain
why he didn't bring a complete customer list and all the faxes since he has
an order to preserve records. He could just say "we're in wind down mode and
we aren't sending any faxes anymore." Ask him if they sent any of the faxes
you have and to explain how he knows that. He'll say no. Then I present the
judge evidence that he's a lying (once again) in court by showing proof that
one (or more) of the faxes was, in fact, sent by them using the techniques
above or below. That will destroy Wilson's credibility in front of that
judge for the future and give me great latitude to bring faxes against him
in the future (people are not supposed to lie under oath).
If all else fails, you can point out that fax.com deliberately changes things
on their faxes to mislead people and is not forthcoming with discovery (see the
FCC Order of Forfeiture), their Chief Compliance Officer lies in court, and
therefore, the burden should shift to them to prove to the judge that they
didn't send that fax.
They may all look completely different, but if you get a junk fax, chances are >50% that it came from
one company: fax.com.
For example, all 4 of these faxes were sent to the same phone number by
Or take a look at this archive of 61 different fax.com ads (4M download):
FDC61faxes. Do my faxes look like yours?
Check out the headers.
Here are 16 different ads that fax.com sent over a period of almost 2 years
for one customer (First Chartered Investments). Note the variations in the
Here are at well over 30 different ways you can verify it's coming from
fax.com. It's possible to verify all elements, but a single element may
often be sufficient to establish preponderance.
The way to prove to a judge it's from fax.com is to use as many of the
techniques on the page that you can and see if they give you the same answer.
Even if you only get a match on one or two, that will give you the preponderance
of the evidence which is the legal standard you need.
The removal number
Comparing the removal number to a known list of fax.com removal numbers is
the simplest method. See the removal numbers listed in numerical order on the fax.com
page. Also, fax.com
customers and removal numbers, and the FCC compiled of fax.com customers and removal numbers.
If your number isn't listed here, dial it and listen to the recording. Does
it sound like either of these? If so, it's fax.com.
877 408 7671 "You have reached the fax removal number...."
800-390-1403 "Thank you for calling our automated entry system...."
If the recording matches either of these, and is not on the list on the fax.com
page, then please contact us using the Contact link to the left and let us know
about the new number.
Note: While it is possible for another advertiser to publish fax.com's removal
numbers on their faxes (and we've actually seen one fax where this was done), it
is extremely rare because:
- few other broadcasters has the "reach" of fax.com
- any broadcaster that is likely to have the reach to get your number
probably already has his own opt out numbers
- the fax broadcaster wants to accommodate your opt out request so that you
don't get upset and call the voice number and complain
- the fax broadcaster makes more money if he just opts you out for that ONE
advertiser so he wants to get the call himself
So if you match a fax.com removal number, the chances you got a fax.com fax
are far better than 95%. Use the header similarity as a double-check.
Headers are like fingerprints.
If you look at the faxes you get, you'll see that the headers from different
companies are all different, but that the headers of two faxes from the same
company are virtually identical. Junk faxes from fax.com all have similar headers.
They vary a bit from faxcaster to faxcaster and they've changed them over the
years, but they are still basically the same. If the headers are similar to a
known fax.com fax as identified from the other characteristics, chances are
>95% your fax is from fax.com.
Look for date/time in the left, optional text (such as <- -> and a fax
number in the middle), and a page number to the right. Most recently, fax.com
just has date/time/page in the header.
Note the fonts, the numbering style, use of leading zeroes, placement of each
Compare those headers to the headers of other faxes you received. If half of
your faxes have similar headers, you've been hit by fax.com.
Look at the headers in these faxes. They are all sent by fax.com:
A recent fax.com mortgage ad
19 fax.com faxes (older style)
Note that the headers change a bit
from fax to fax since it can be sent from different machines with different
NOTE: Recently fax.com has stopped using headers on some of their faxes and may also be
missing removal numbers. This is also a clue that you have a fax.com fax as all
the other major blasters don't do this. The good news is you can always subpoena
the resp org for the 800 response number (usually Paetech for fax.com) and find
out who it rings to or use the other techniques here.
The response number
Fax.com (Lighthouse Marketing) runs a call center to handle the calls for
their advertisers who are ill-equipped to handle the call volumes. Fax.com
handles this all in-house because it's incremental revenue to them; they get
paid for the faxing, and they get paid for the response so they squeeze more
dough from the same customer.
If they answer "Consumer Source" you know it's fax.com since that
is one of their pseudonyms (we know this from tracing the number we dialed to a
fictitious business which in turn lead to Data Research Systems).
See Bridge Capital for an example of how we
trace the number.
So when you call the 800 number to respond to an ad, you're really calling
the Lighthouse Marketing call center organization run by Eric Brenner.
There is a list of a few recent 800 response numbers on the fax.com
page from some of the faxes we've got.
If you want to verify a number, you can use Abika to lookup the 800 number
or you can use the Investigation tools
to find out the Responsible Organization, then subpoena the provider to give you the name of the customer that it rings
Jimmy Sutton did just this and found that response numbers 800-237-5848, 800-816-0435, 800-670-6024, 800-364-3061, and 800-819-5256
belong to Lighthouse Marketing (shown as a wholesaler), 15440 Laguna Canyon Rd.,
Irvine, CA 92618, and all ring-through to 949-265-3486. The contact names are
Dan Freeman and Erwin Dass. Lighthouse Marketing has about 400 toll free
numbers through the same resp org (i.e., through Paetec), all of which ring-through to the same number.
and fdc800-2.PDF for details. You can re-use
these results in your own case.
Another person got 3 junk faxes and using the Investigation tools
called Ameritech to locate the "owner" of the removal numbers listed on the
faxes (866-252-6975, 866-269-0989, 866-255-5179, 866-267-1845). Ameritech
gave the name of a company called Allnet Communications at 800-466-4600 (which
was acquired by Global Crossing), and Allnet told him that every number listed
as a response number on the faxes is owned by a company called IVR. They would
not give me the address of IVR, but they did give me their phone number -
Similarity with admitted fax.com ads from other cases
There are lots of cases (such as your previous cases) where fax.com shows up to
Defend or the advertiser admits a contract with fax.com. You can show the judge
a lot of similarities with these "known to be fax.com" faxes.
That you got a junk fax to begin with
Just the fact you got a junk fax means it's probably from fax.com since they
send out about 80% of the junk faxes to "unlisted" fax numbers. This
indirect and we wouldn't suggest you rely on this, but it is a mathematical fact
that does establish preponderance (most judges won't rule on mathematical
The reason that 80% of the junk faxes are from fax.com is three-fold: they
have the largest database, they have the most capacity, and they have the most
advertisers. The latter is critical because it's advertiser orders that
determine how many faxes get sent out. Because fax.com has the most advertisers,
it's only logical that they send out the most faxes.
% of your junk faxes after identifying the other blasters
I only get junk from 4 different blasters. Each has "identifying
characteristics". So a given fax that comes in can quickly be identified as
belonging to one of the other blasters who are easy to identify. Virtually all
the faxes that remain after sorting into "other broadcasters" are
fax.com faxes historically. Therefore, if I can't identify it, from a
mathematical point of view, it's almost certainly a fax.com fax (although a
court won't buy that argument).
Finding new customers for any business is always tough. In order to grow,
you need repeat business from your existing customers. Fax.com is no different.
So see if the advertiser name appears anywhere on the ad (or call in response to
the ad) and compare that with a
list of know fax.com advertisers (e.g., your previous faxes that you've already
identified as fax.com, e.g., via headers, removal number, advertiser name). A
list of fax.com advertisers is on the fax.com page.
Fax.com tries to make every ad look like it comes from a different company.
They'll change everything...font sizes, fonts, wording, graphics, layout, etc.
on subsequent ads from the same company. But since they use the same people, if
you look closely, you'll see similarities in the ads. This is tricky because
they are deliberately trying to make everything look different.
Same story as the graphics. Look closely at the offer and you'll see
similarities with earlier faxes that you've previously taken the time to
Intensity of attack
No other broadcaster has the total output capacity (well over 1M/day) to send a
huge number of faxes in a short amount of time. If you suddenly get attacked
with a deluge of ads, it's almost certainly fax.com.
Comparison with other sites that get junk faxes (in bulk)
Junkfax.org often gets complaints from sites that get bombarded with
fax.com. Fax.com is the only company out there with the capacity to do this.
Plus all the faxes are identified as fax.com using the techniques on this page.
So we use the "variants" that we see (fonts, headers, removal numbers,
etc.) to improve our ability to recognize the fax.com mutations.
In short, when a company goes from getting no faxes, to suddenly getting 100
per day of 10 different advertisements, the chance of two broadcasters suddenly
hitting the company at the same time with ads that are "similar"
(using the tests on this page) is zero. Therefore, it's a great way to learn the
various mutations fax.com uses.
Compare with other copies you received at the same time on a different
I have several voice lines at home and one fax line. But when I'm gone, the
voice lines will accept faxes. Fax.com is the only company that war dials my
voice lines. Therefore, when I get a fax on my voice number, I know it's from
fax.com. And when I get the SAME fax on all my voice numbers, there is no doubt.
Nobody in the country is as aggressive as they are.
Compare with your friends (overall reach)
No other broadcaster has as broad a list of fax machines as fax.com. So if you
get a fax and most of your friends got the same junk fax, you've probably been
hit by fax.com.
Compare with the offer #, removal #, advertiser list subpoenaed from
I've subpoenaed their list of offer #, removal #, and advertisers. If they
provide it, I'll post it here. If they don't provide it, or provide an
incomplete list, the judge isn't going to believe them anymore. If they don't
produce the evidence you request in your subpoena and can't come up with a
reason they can't comply, the judge will probably grant that the evidence says
what you want it to say.
Look at the number of fax broadcasters who have my number(s) and the # of
faxes from each broadcaster
Well over half my faxes are from fax.com. So when I get a junk fax, it's
>50% chance it's from fax.com.
Voices of people who answer
I call up the response number. If I recognize the voice of the person who
answers, I know it's them.
Names of people who answer
I call up the response number. If I recognize the name of the person who
answers, I know it's them. Or I ask for someone whose name I know from another
number already known to be fax.com.
How they answer the phone
I call up the response number. If I recognize the way they answer the phone,
I know it's them.
The recording you get when you call the removal number
I call up the removal number. If I recognize the voice or the message, I
know it's them.
Slip ups by people who answer
I call up the response number and hassle the person. Within 20 seconds, I
can tell whether they work for Lighthouse, no matter how well trained they are.
ANI trace of the phone number that called
I forward my fax number to Abika which forwards it to my efax number. Abika
picks off the ANI information. If there isn't any ANI information, it's fax.com
(they illegally block it).
Fax.com arranged to block the ANI to make their calls harder to trace. That's
certainly true if you don't know what's going on. But if you are experienced, a
blocked ANI on a junkfax is a dead giveaway that the fax is coming from fax.com.
This is a perfect example of how techniques to cover your tracks actually make
you more visible (the same is true of e-mail spam).
Quality of the fax scan
Fax.com has great quality control on the transmission itself, much better
than most broadcasters that you'd get junk faxes from. A typical individual only
gets hit by less than 4 broadcasters, and most of those are lower quality than
fax.com. Therefore, a high quality unsolicited fax is almost certainly going to
be a fax.com fax.
Quality of the advertisement
Erwin Dass's graphics department does a great job on creating the ad. So the
quality of the ad is a tipoff in the same way the quality of the scan was in the
Layout of the ad
Over time, you get to know their style. They vary (along with wording,
fonts, etc.) it to try to fool you and make you think it's not coming from them,
but if you invest a bit of time, you can see the patterns.
Over time, you get to know their style, but see "layout" above.
Use of words
Over time, you get to know their style. There are some very subtle things
you can pick off that are done the same way every time. They try VERY hard to
make things look different. To the untrained eye, they are different. If you
know what to look for, you'll see the similarities.
We have incoming phone numbers that have ONLY been discovered by fax.com
(which we know from the other techniques). So when we get a fax on those phone
numbers, we KNOW it's from fax.com. Then we just use that as a reference set.
Testimony under oath/the advertiser admits it
Unless they want to lose the case or get thrown in jail, the Defendant probably
will admit they used fax.com if you are suing the advertiser. If they lie, and
you show the judge they are lying under oath, then they are probably going to
lose the case. Same is true if you are suing fax.com directly. If you keep
it to yourself how you are going to show the judge the similarities from the
evidence that it was fax.com, and ask the Defendant first whether he sent it, it
sets the Defendant up. If the Defendant lies and you expose that, you should
Explicit admission of advertiser
When you confront the advertiser with a lawsuit, the advertiser may admit they
use fax.com, especially if you offer to take them off the lawsuit as a Defendant
if they spill the beans on who they used.
Who shows up (in court, by phone, or in a letter) to defend
You know you've got a fax.com fax if the advertiser refers you to one of the "friendly" staff at Data
Research Systems to "convince" you to drop your case, e.g., Charles
Martin, Darrell Smiley, or Terry Breer aka Terri Cleland (Cleland is her maiden
name; Breer is her married name and she also works out of Newport Beach).
Terri Breer has called me on behalf of Justin Snyder and Live Leads Corp.
She offered to settle, only on their behalf, for $500. I said I would not
settle for less than $2000, but that for $2000 I would settle with both them
and their client (Delray Credit Counseling Corp).
Terri Breer, Esquire
92 Argonaut, Suite 225
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
(949) 580-2630 (fax)
Subpoena the advertiser's phone records so you can look at who they call
after you threaten to sue the shit out of them
If you handle it right on your call to the right person at the advertiser
(someone in charge), they'll usually call their broadcaster to be comforted or
to refer your case. You can subpoena their phone records and see whether they
call the folks at Impact.
Subpoena the advertiser's fax.com contract or cancelled check or credit
card entry showing they used fax.com
Make a deal with the advertiser. If they cooperate with a subpoena or freely
provide their fax.com contract (or other evidence), you agree not to sue them.
Nothing like having the advertiser supply your evidence to implicate fax.com.
Other screw ups
Like an illegal activity, there is no "perfect crime." They always
make lots of mistakes. The list above is but a small sample.
Ask an expert for an Affidavit
You can contact us and we'll give you a "fax.com" expert to sign an
affidavit attesting to the authenticity of your fax based on careful analysis of
at least 10 different features, all of which lead to the same conclusion.
Check out these sites:
The more Internet sites that are independent from you that corroborate your
conclusions, the better. So if it matches a number on the junkfax.org site and
one other Internet site, that is pretty strong evidence.
Don't discount the fact that it is listed on the Junkfax.org site. We the #1
authority on the web on fax.com and all numbers that are listed are verified
multiple ways. If you got a match on our site, you've met your
"preponderance of the evidence" but the more things you can cite, the
There are several other techniques that I won't go into here that are 100%
accurate alone in identifying fax.com faxes. If the 30 steps above don't work
for you, let me know.
What's interesting is that if fax.com reacts to these techniques, they end up
being even more identifiable!!! For example, if they vary elements so that they
run 12 different versions of an ad, then we know anytime we get an ad on all our
fax machines with 12 variants that it's fax.com.