What to do in case of spam complaints?
When there are grounds for a complaint, you first need to establish how and to whom you can address your complaint.
There are two types of illegal spam :
- an electronic message may be illegal because of its prospective nature (of which the content is not illegal) and because it was sent without prior consent of the intended person or because the message continues to be sent in spite of the fact that the intended person has made use of the right to object;
Thus, according to the type of illegality the electronic message that gives rise to a complaint will give occasion to lodge a complaint with one of the following public authorities:
- the Directorate-General Enforcement and Mediation of the FPS Economy;
- the Commission for the Protection of Privacy;
- the « Federal Computer Crime Unit », special criminal investigation unit of the Federal Police.
To help you find the appropriate authority to lodge a complaint, you will find examples of illegal electronic messages below. This list is not exhaustive and does not prejudge the outcome of your complaint in any way.
The Directorate-General Enforcement and Mediation of the FPS Economy is entitled to receive complaints concerning electronic messages:
- that were sent without prior consent and which are of an advertising nature (such as the sales promotion of a product or a service);
- that have a content contrary to the regulations to protect the consumer, more commonly referred to as consumer fraud:
- deceptive advertising regarding diets and “miraculous” health products;
- deceptive credit card offers or offers promising better credit terms;
- deceptive advertising regarding so-called “interesting” holiday packages, etc.;
- prohibited advertising for medicines (viagra,...);
- prohibited advertising for lotteries,…
- containing a false identity, a hidden address or the identity of a third person.
The Commission for the Protection of Privacy is entitled to receive complaints concerning electronic messages:
- sent by someone you didn’t have contact with, you do not know and who has obtained your electronic post address without your knowledge;
- sent without the prior consent of the intended person and that have a prospective nature, without any advertising objective (such as religious, associative and political propaganda);
The “Federal Computer Crime Unit” of the Federal Police is entitled to receive complaints concerning electronic messages which are clearly illegal:
- messages containing information of a paedophile nature;
- messages containing attempts to defraud or to extort money: the most common form is the "Nigerian letter" in which a person promises to pay you a large sum of money and asks you to pay an advance to unblock this sum. After the deposit of the advance, of course, there will be no money!
- messages containing viruses;
- messages promoting drugs, weapons or other prohibited products;
- messages of racist or xenophobic nature which incite to hatred on the grounds of sexual or religious orientation, etc. ;
- messages that wrongfully use the identity of a third person (eBay, skynet, citibank) and in which the recipient is asked, for security reasons, to give some personal information (password, credit card number, etc.).
If you have become a victim of crime, you can report this to the local police. Have you seen something on the interernet and you wish to report this, go to https://www.ecops.be/ .
Below you will find the contact details of all authorities:
Directorate-General Enforcement and Mediation
Simon Bolivarlaan 30
B - 1000 Brussels
Tel : +32 (0)2 208 36 11
Fax : +32 (0)2 208 3915
B - 1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 743 74 74
Attention: in order to enable the competent authorities to deal with spam complaints in a valid way, the technical header of the suspicious electronic message should be added to the complaint. The information in these headers is indeed essential to identify and localize the sender of spam. You can take notice of the procedures that need to be followed to compose technical headings according to the type of e-mail program you’re using, at the following address: http://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/118.html
Source: Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy.