Mysterious "returned" or "undeliverable" emails
Thread poster: Jenny Forbes

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:59
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 3, 2007

I have recently started receiving countless email messages along the lines of "returned mail" or "message undeliverable" regarding messages I have never sent, to addresses I have never heard of.
Does anyone know what is causing this, or how to stop it? It's a real nuisance.
Thanks in advance,
Jenny.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:59
English to German
+ ...
Ouch. Mar 3, 2007

I truly hope that this is not the case, but it sounds like your system fell victim to a worm. Once your computer is infected, this vicious little program will start sending emails from your computer and you won't even notice it.

I had a similar encounter a few years ago - it was bad. Due to the extreme political and malicious nature of the emails (which I never sent) I had to call the police. I changed my email address and got a new computer.


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:59
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
You can't do much Mar 3, 2007

This is a common problem. Somebody is putting your address in the "Reply to:" and/or "From:" fields of their mass mailings.

You probably have your e-mail address visible somewhere on the web, or sent one or more e-mails to a computer that had a spyware in it, fetching e-mail addresses.

As far as I know you can only try and not look at them. E.g. filter notifications so that they go to another folder, and look at them just when you want to make sure that your own messages have not been returned.

Another possibility is that you have your own domain, and the spammer is just making up fake addresses using your domain after the @ sign (e.g. fakeaddress@yourdomain.com, postmaster@yourdomain. com etc.) . In this case you could instruct your server to trash all mail not addressed to one of your legitimate addresses.

Of course there is also a chance that your pc is sending the email directly due to a worm. In this case though you should be able to notice that your modem is sending massive amounts of datas while you are not using your mail or browser. (Just look at the "send" light on your modem or ADSL modem, or open your network connection icon on your taskbar). in this case you should disinfect your PC.


Jenny Forbes wrote:

I have recently started receiving countless email messages along the lines of "returned mail" or "message undeliverable" regarding messages I have never sent, to addresses I have never heard of.
Does anyone know what is causing this, or how to stop it? It's a real nuisance.
Thanks in advance,
Jenny.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:59
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Previous forum discussion of this topic Mar 3, 2007

See http://www.proz.com/topic/63342

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Luisa Fiorini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:59
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
It happened to me too Mar 3, 2007

Nicole Schnell wrote:

I truly hope that this is not the case, but it sounds like your system fell victim to a worm. Once your computer is infected, this vicious little program will start sending emails from your computer and you won't even notice it.



It happened to me too and I finally found out that it was a virus. It invalidated my anitvirus and I had to install a new one.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:59
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Nicole, Luca, Jack and Luisa Mar 3, 2007

Thank you, all, for your suggestions.
I don't think my computer has a virus. It must be something to do with my profile page on this or other websites, and I'll just have to put up with it. I'm glad to learn I'm not alone.
I just wonder what advantage anyone derives from sending out these false messages - is it just mischief, like hacking?
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:59
English to Polish
Spam Mar 3, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:


I just wonder what advantage anyone derives from sending out these false messages - is it just mischief, like hacking?
Kind regards,
Jenny.

It's spam. Those messages usually use fake or someone else's email addresses, not real senders' ones.


Anni


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:59
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
more explanation Mar 3, 2007

M. Anna Kańduła wrote:

Jenny Forbes wrote:


I just wonder what advantage anyone derives from sending out these false messages - is it just mischief, like hacking?
Kind regards,
Jenny.

It's spam. Those messages usually use fake or someone else's email addresses, not real senders' ones.


Anni


It's spam sent out to thousands of recipients using your e-mail address to make it look like the spam mail came from a legitimate sender. When this spam reaches a mailbox where it can't be delivered - the mailbox is full, the owner has activated an automated reply such as an "out of office" message, the address doesn't exist anymore, etc. -, the spam bounces back to the "sender" => you.

So, if you think about how rarely you receive bounced-back e-mails in your legitimate mail, you get an idea to how many people this spam mail has been sent under your name.

You can try and block the most commonly used terms in the subject line in your e-mail application, so the e-mails bounce right back to the rejecting mailbox... cyberspace ping-pong!


[Edited at 2007-03-03 21:24]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:59
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Message rule for Thunderbird Mar 5, 2007

I get very few of the delivery failure notices now, only one or two a week. But I find some of the other spam messages are using the same technique of sending to an address identical to mine apart from the part before the @ sign. So I tried to think what more I could do, and came up with this:
In Message Filters, set this rule:
To: (part of address before @)
does not contain
Delete.
I tested this by sending messages to myself and to xxx@(rest of my address), and it works. Mail addressed to my full email address gets through, but if the first part is wrong, it goes directly to the Trash.


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