A ringing telephone roused Shiksaa from her sleep one night in late December 2002. According to her bedside clock, it was four in the morning. But she fumbled for the phone and answered, worried that it might wake her 80-year-old father who lived with her and was quite frail.
"Hello?" she mumbled into the phone.
"Is this Susan?" asked the unfamiliar male voice on the other end.
"Yes, it is," she replied, at once relieved and annoyed.
"Hey, it's Bill Waggoner."
Shiksaa's grogginess instantly disappeared. "How the hell did you get this number?" she demanded. It was an unlisted number that she gave out to very few people, none of whom were spammers.
"Someone just IM'ed it to me. I wanted to see if it really was your number," replied Waggoner, a Las Vegas-based junk emailer who had been on the Spamhaus Register of Known Spam Operations (Rokso) since it began in 2000.
Shiksaa sat up in bed. "You idiot. Do you realize it's four in the morning? Don't ever call this number again, or I'll call the police," she snarled. Then she hung up. She tried to get back to sleep, but she was struggling to understand how the unlisted number had gotten into circulation. Only one explanation made sense. She had recently phoned Scott Richter, head of OptInRealBig LLC, using the line. He must have captured the number with caller ID.
The next day, Shiksaa contacted SBC and got a new unlisted phone number. A customer service representative recommended that she file a police report ...