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Frequently-Asked QuestionWhy do I get a bounce message from an email I never sent?
- A spammer may have guessed your password and is sending email through our servers using your account.
As a precaution, you should change your password right away. Pick a password that is at least eight
characters long, has capital letters and at least one numeral, and is NOT a dictionary word. Spammers have
machines that can and do spend 24 hours a day trying to guess your password. Don't make it easy for them.
- A spammer may have used your email address for his spam, and you got the bounce. Mail servers
are getting smarter about insisting that email come from real domains. This helps
eliminate the firstname.lastname@example.org type of return address that's never intended
to be used except to satisfy the requirement that mail has to come from someone.
In the past, mail servers just checked for a return address, so spammers could (and did)
put whatever they wanted there. Now that servers are checking for valid return addresses,
spammers aren't using their own -- they're using yours. This lets them send all the spam
they want while you get the complaints and bounces.
Friendly little buggers, aren't they?
There is absolutly nothing you can do about this. Until all servers start requiring
authentication (and even then, unless other servers only accept
mail that's been authenticated) the problem will continue.
Fortunately, this minor form of identify theft doesn't damage your reputation. The
headers clearly indicate that the email didn't originate with you. Some individuals
may read the headers and think the mail came from you (or just reply with a nasty note
without bothering to look at the headers), but organizations like
SpamCop and all mail administrators won't be fooled.
- Someone to whom you've sent mail in the past, or who has your email address in her address book
for any other reason, may have a virus/worm/trojan that sends out mail with forged
headers drawn randomly from the address book.
- Some spammers send fake bounce messages to trick you into opening the email. Don't follow
links sent to you in a bounce email.
- Some virus/worm/trojans send fake bounce messages, too. You click on the attachment to
see what message bounced, and viola! you are now infected. Never open an attachment
unless you know the sender and you were expecting it. And maybe not even then.
- You may have a worm that's sending mail from your computer without your knowledge or consent.
You typically pick up these programs by running an executable attachment, or by browsing to
an unsafe site with all the active-content doodads enabled. You should
- Get a virus checker like AVG
or Norton Anti-Virus
- Update your virus checker definitions regularly
- Get and run Malwarebytes or Ad-Aware
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