"Joe job" is the Internet term for forged e-mail which appears to have been sent by one party, but has actually been forged by someone else with the intent of generating complaints about, and damaging the reputation of, an innocent victim. For example, a "joe jobber" might spam a message containing child pornography to thousands of people using a forged return address of "firstname.lastname@example.org" in order to outrage the recipients and provoke them into flooding John Smith's mailbox with complaints, or to tarnish the reputation of the XYZ Company.
"Joe job" messages are not technically scams
, because they are not attempts to bilk their recipients out of money (although they may cause indirect financial damage to their targets). Unlike phishing
schemes, "joe jobs" don't direct recipients to phony web sites for the collection of sensitive personal and financial information, nor do they con their recipients into paying money to the senders. They're a form of hoax, crafted to yank people's chains and get them riled up at some innocent victim.
Listed below are examples of some of the more widely-circulated "joe jobs."