Academic Insight: Spamtraps Don’t Take the SAT or ACT

Academic Insight, a U.S.-based academic test preparation service, is sending bulk email advertisements to an email address that was closed in 2003. This spamtrap has also not previously received email from this company. The ESP is Vertical Response.

The subject of the email suggests that Academic Insight believes that the spamtrap belongs to a high school student who is scheduled to take the SAT and/or ACT on specific dates in the next few weeks. A single spamtrap hit is normally not enough evidence to allow any firm conclusions to be drawn about the cause. However, the SAT and ACT dates in the Subject header of this email combined with the sudden addition of a spamtrap that had not previously heard from this company to their mailing list suggests an e-pended list to me. I suspect that the list was targeted at college-bound high school students who plan to take (or would reasonably be expected to take) the SAT or ACT on those dates.

Sending IP:

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from ( [])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Mon, 16 Jan 2012 14:xx:xx -0600 (CST)
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Received: from [10.4.xx.xx] ([10.4.xx.xx:xx] helo=<xxx>
        by <xxx> (envelope-from <bounces-<xxx>>)
        (ecelerity r(41536)) with ESMTP
        id <xxx>; Mon, 16 Jan 2012 12:xx:xx -0800
From: "Academic Insight" <>
Reply-To: "Academic Insight" <reply-<xxx>>
To: <xxx>
Subject: Taking the SAT next Saturday, 1/28? Or the ACT on 2/11?
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 20:xx:xx +0000
Message-ID: <<xxx>>
List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:reply-<xxx>>
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Company_ID: <xxx>
X-vrfbldomain: <xxx>
X-vrpod: <xxx>
X-CTS-Enabled: <xxx>
X-Campaign: <xxx>
X-vrrpmm: <xxx>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Readable Email:

From: Academic Insight <>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Taking the SAT next Saturday, 1/28? Or the ACT on 2/11?
Reply-To: Academic Insight <reply-<xxx>><xxx>

Visit our Web site for a full list of programs and services
Get prepared fast with our SAT & ACT *Intensive Review program! One day (4.5 hrs) in our small group format

Our one-day intensive programs review all the basics of each area of the SAT & ACT in under five hours. Our small group format ensures your student receives individualized attention by working real problems from each section with the instructor and that your student has the opportunity to ask questions. Call us today get your student the skills he or she needs to “ace” these tests!

<removed> –<xxx>


This message was sent by Academic Insight using VerticalResponse

Academic Insight
1103 Black Pine Lane
Pleasant Hill, California 94523

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