Citibank: Sending “Thank You” Reward Emails to 8-Years-Dead Spamtrap!

U.S. banking giant Citibank yesterday sent bulk email about “thank you” rewards points to a new spamtrap that has been dead for over eight years. The email contained a name and the last four digits of a credit card number. As with previous Citibank bulk emails that I have seen and blogged about, the ESP is Epsilon Interactive via its ESP Bigfoot Interactive.

This email is definitely spam. It also contains a name and the last four digits of a credit card number, which suggests that a real user account is involved. As this email address has not previously received email from Citibank, I suspect that this was the result of an email append operation that mismatched a Citibank credit card customer with a long-dead email address that might or might not ever have belonged to that customer. Email append operations are by definition 100% opt-out; even if they succeed in matching a customer to an email address belonging to the customer, that customer did not give that email address to the company and did not ask to be placed on a bulk email list. To do email append and then use real customer information in emails to appended email addresses is outragous.

Whatever caused this to happen, I do not believe that Citibank serves its customers well when it is this careless with their information. If I were looking for a credit card issuer, I would look elsewhere.

Sending IP:

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from ( [])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Fri, 27 Jul 2012 21:xx:xx -0000 (UT)
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Received: from [192.168.xx.xx] ([192.168.xx.xx:xx] helo=<xxx>)
        by <xxx> (envelope-from <<xxx>>)
        (ecelerity r(34222M)) with ESMTP
        id <xxx>5; Fri, 27 Jul 2012 17:xx:xx -0400
Reply-To: =?iso-8859-1?B?<xxx>=?= <<xxx>>
Bounces_to: ThankYouNetwork.<xxx>
Message-ID: <<xxx>>
X-SS: <xxx>
X-BFI: <xxx>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 17:xx:xx EDT
From: =?iso-8859-1?B?<xxx>=?= <>
Subject: Use ThankYou(R) Points for top brands in time for school
To: <xxx>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Readable Email:

From: <xxx> <>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Use ThankYou(R) Points for top brands in time for school
Reply-To: <xxx> <<xxx>>

Welcome <appended name removed>

As of July 26, 2012, your available ThankYou Points total is: <xxx>

Special Offer: Back to School

ThankYou Member Account ending in: <xxx>



Add to your address book to ensure delivery.

Need help logging in to Go to<xxx>

About This Message

This is a message from ThankYou Rewards brought to you by Citibank, N.A. If you’d like to choose the kinds of email messages you receive from ThankYou Rewards regarding ThankYou Rewards or other products and services, or if you’d prefer not to receive future email updates from ThankYou Rewards, please go to<xxx>

Have Questions About Your ThankYou Member Account?

We cannot respond to individual messages through this email address, because we are unable to verify the sender’s identity. However, you can call us at 1-800-THANKYOU (1-800-842-6596). The ThankYou Service Center is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. Outside the U.S., please call collect at 859-283-8016. TDD/TTY for the hearing impaired, please call 1-877-693-0218.

Contact us at:
ThankYou Service Center
P.O. Box 6278
Sioux Falls, SD 57117

(c) 2012 Citibank, N.A. All rights reserved. ThankYou is a registered service mark of Citigroup Inc.

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