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How to stop failure messages for emails I have not sent?
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:29
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jan 12, 2007

Having noticed a topic in the French forum - "mon mot du jour", - about this problem, and having suffered from it myself for some time, I thought I would raise it here for a wider audience.
Ever since last September, I have been getting vast numbers of failure messages about emails I have never sent. The failed emails always originate from an email address like mine but starting with a different name, e.g. if my correct address were
they would be the same, but substituting xxxx for joebloggs - xxxx standing for any of the different names they put in here. These are now arriving in vast numbers, 100 or more a day. I have contacted my ISP but received no help other than advice to set up measures to ensure that they go into the trash rather than my inbox, which I was doing anyway. The only problem with this is that I have to check the trash before deleting it to ensure that it does not contain genuine messages, and this is a lot bigger chore now than it used to be. Is there any way I can stop this altogether?

[Edited at 2007-01-12 23:42]

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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:29
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
You can not stop it Jan 13, 2007

The same here. It's spam (or answers to it- possibly sent out using fake your email address). Just configure your Junk filter accordingly...


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:29
French to Spanish
+ ...
In French... Jan 13, 2007
Same problem, I think.

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Florence B  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
English to French
+ ...
Message rules Jan 13, 2007

Hi Jack

The first thing to check would be the possibility to deactivate any default forwarding to your real address.
If your real address is, any email to is necessarily not coming from a client or friend and can be safely discarded.

If some family members use addresses on too, they will normally have a separate pop access (with different identification id-s and passwords) so it will have no action on this.

On the French forum the process required to do that on domains hosted by is described, but it is different (and often simpler) when using your isp email addresses.

Second possibility, squashing those emails on the server from your email client.

From Outlook Express (I'm not completely sure of the way things are displayed since I have a French version on my computer):
Tools -> Message rules -> Mail
New rule -> 1 - When the line To contains people
2 - Delete it from the server (this way you won't have to download them on your computer)

At that moment you can only display an address that you *do not want* while it's the opposite, you can only name the address that you want. Fortunately there's a trick

In box 3, there is now a blue sequence "contains people"
Click on that blue link
Add in the text box and click "Add".
Click on "Options" and choose option 2 "The message doesn't contain the people mentioned below"

Click Ok (three times) to accept and close all the dialog boxes.

In Thunderbird there is a similar feature
Tools -> Message filters -> New
With the same options as above, but easier to find in dropdown boxes.

In any case, send yourself two messages at least (one to and one to ) to check that things are working correctly. You can simply delete these rules if you don't want them any more.

For more safety, you can also try the "delete" option (not from the server) in both cases, for a few days, until you are sure that the rule works perfectly (the junk email will land directly in the bin so you can perform a check there) then turn it to "delete from the server" afterwards.


[Edited at 2007-01-13 10:50]

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:29
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Thanks, Oddie Jan 14, 2007

I have applied the measures you suggest to Outlook Express and have done what I can in Thunderbird. The trash folders still fill up but it has helped a bit.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:29
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
It will stop at one point Jan 14, 2007

I had these messages in 2003 a lot but not at all anymore. Mostly they were automatical responses to messages sent with my address to non-existent addresses.

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How to stop failure messages for emails I have not sent?

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