Information Technology Services

Visit Us at Carothers Library Lower Level or call/email us at HelpDesk@uri.edu - 401-874-HELP (4357)

E-Mail Abuse: How to Report It

Introduction
Most abusive e-mails originate from one of the following sources:

  • Someone other than the owner gains access to an account and sends e-mail using a name other than his/her own
  • Someone modifies mail headers to conceal their identity or assume the identity of another
  • Someone uses an anonymous mail service, including those established for reporting e-mail abuse

To provide recipients of abusive e-mail a way to report incidents, e-mail service providers are establishing an e-mail abuse “hotline” for their site in the form of an e-mail address. Most commonly, the format of this e-mail address is abuse@ or postmaster@ followed by either the site’s mail server name or other site identifier.

In keeping with this standard, the Office of Information Services provides and monitors the abuse@uri.edu address.

Please Note: The procedures below apply only to abusive e-mail that targets you specifically!

They do not apply to SPAM, which is unsolicited, usually commercial, bulk e-mail sent randomly to hundreds or thousands of e-mail addresses. Although the content of some SPAM mail could be considered offensive and receiving endless unwanted messages is annoying, SPAM does not target any one individual or pose any threat.

For information on how you can minimize the amount of SPAM mail you receive, refer to Dealing with SPAM on the E-Mail page

Reporting Abuse
To help us identify and deal with e-mail abusers, please do the following if you are targeted:

  1. Report e-mail abuse within 24 hours so we can consult our e-mail system log to determine the origin of the e-mail and look for any information that may identify the perpetrator.
  2. Submit a copy of the abusive e-mail to us electronically and make sure that all e-mail headers are included. This is essential for identification!

Depending on the nature of the abusive e-mail, seek assistance as follows:

For e-mail posing an imminent threat to you or your property:

  • Immediately contact the URI Campus Police at 874-2121 if you are on campus, or the local police department if you are elsewhere.
  • Send notification to abuse@uri.edu within 24hours, along with a copy of the abusive e-mail and all its headers, so that we can:
    • consult our e-mail system log to determine the origin of the e-mail
    • look for information to identify the perpetrator
    • preserve any evidence that identifies the source

For harassing e-mail:
Send notification to abuse@uri.edu within 24hours, along with a copy of the abusive e-mail and all its headers.

We will consult the e-mail system log to identify the source:

  • If the e-mail originated from within the University, we will contact the offender.
  • If the e-mail originated from outside of the University, we will contact the site of origin.

In the case of grievous or repeat incidents of harassing e-mail, we will:

  • Report the person to Student Affairs if the e-mail is generated by a URI student.
  • Report the person to Human Resource Administration if the e-mail is generated by a URI faculty or staff member.
  • Pursue the matter with the site of origin and/or the police if the e-mail is generated from outside the University.

To break the cycle of repeat incidents, it will be necessary for us to take your compromised e-mail account offline temporarily until you can change your password.

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