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Old 03-18-2020, 09:59 AM
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How to send an email from an account that is a forwarder (no mailbox)?


I am on the board of a homeowner's association. We have an email address under our own domain name for the board of directors. It is not a mailbox, it is just a distribution list forwarder. Homeowners can use this address to send email to all the board members. However, sometimes the board would like to send emails out to homeowners and have it come from the board, without it coming from any one individual board member.

Basically I want to know how to spoof this email address. I want it to look like it's coming from the board, and have replies go to the board. Is there any way to do this in a conventional email client, or do I have to use something sketchy like spammers use? The closest thing I can find is to set a Reply To address but the From address is still me.
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:10 AM
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The From line in an e-mail is whatever you set it to be. The only reason your emails currently show as "From Cookingwithgas" (or whatever they say) is because, at some point in setting up your e-mail program (or setting up the previous program it imported its settings from), you told it to say that. Where exactly that setting will be will depend on what program you're using, but it'll be in there somewhere.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:44 AM
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You may want to set "Reply-To", but strictly speaking it is optional. If you don't specify it, replies are supposed to go to the address in "From". "From" should be the board address, and your own personal address should go into "Sender" if you are the one who sends the actual message.

ETA if you totally screw it up, you risk getting your emails eaten by all the spam filters

Last edited by DPRK; 03-18-2020 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:29 PM
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Can I ask what is the reason you're looking to spoof your HOA's email address?
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:00 PM
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I can guarantee that many domains will regard this as spam, and bounce your email.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:06 PM
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It's not a spoof if he or she is on the board. The rule is that the "From" address should belong to you. A spoof would be if you sent a message and made it look as though it came from me. Don't assume that urgent message from your buddy asking for money is real.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
I can guarantee that many domains will regard this as spam, and bounce your email.
Even a legitimate mailing list with the headers all filled out with the proper addresses according to the standard? Seems like a overzealous spam filter.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
Even a legitimate mailing list with the headers all filled out with the proper addresses according to the standard? Seems like a overzealous spam filter.
Many email servers will reject mail when any of the headers dont match - if sent-from and reply-to dont match, it will get rejected. Or, if sent-from doesnt match the domain that the email was actually set from (relaying).

I know, because I used to want ALL emails sent to specific clients to get replyed-to to a specific email address, regardless of what account it was sent from. I finally gave up, after fighting with perpetual bounces from specific servers.
  #9  
Old 03-18-2020, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
Even a legitimate mailing list with the headers all filled out with the proper addresses according to the standard? Seems like a overzealous spam filter.
Sorry, doesn't seem overzealous at all, to me.
I want my spam filter to reject any message where the Sent-From doesn't match the Reply-To.

And so do most people -- that's why spam filters are programmed that way. And that's because spammers found this loophole in the standard, and are using it to pummel us with their garbage spam. Or fix the standard, so that this spam loophole is closed.
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:27 AM
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I'm not a spammer, so I don't send out thousands of emails, but I can tell you that our technical support, and orders, and accounts people always send out mail from accounts, and orders, and support, not using their individual email addresses.

I can also tell you that many email clients use "from" and "reply-to" differently to each other, and set, or display or ignore one or the other. To give just one example, the gmail android client will silently swallow one of those values when forwarding mail.

Personally, I've never met a spam filter that compared the reply-to and from addresses, and I wouldn't expect it, because it's just too random on real mail. But that's irrelevant: the OP asked how to make them the same, because he hadn't figured out how to do so.

And that, as mentioned above, is entirely up to the email client software, and may not even be possible.
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:18 AM
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Who's handling the email? I know you said it's from your domain, but is the actual email handled my gmail or whoever is hosting your domain or do you have an in house server.
They can all set their own rules for how an alias works. With google, I believe there's a way to send mail from an alias.

In any case, the easiest way might be to turn the forwarding address into an actual address. You can still set up filters to forward all the incoming mail to wherever it needs to go, but it would also be the simplest way to send email from that address without having to worry about making any changes to anything when you wanted to do it.
  #12  
Old 03-19-2020, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Dreams View Post
Can I ask what is the reason you're looking to spoof your HOA's email address?
Sometimes the board makes decisions that affect individual homeowners. We want to notify an individual homeowner of a decision or reply to a inquiry by an individual homeowner, and present that email as coming from the board. My experience has been that if I personally send an email, even if the content of the email says it is from the board, that the homeowner responds to me as an individual and holds me individually responsible for a decision made by the entire board. Although we do not want to prevent people from communicating directly with an individual board member, our experience has shown that is it important to present the board as a united group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The From line in an e-mail is whatever you set it to be.
I use Outlook as a desktop client. When you set up an email account, it authenticates your email address against your server. You can't just specify an arbitrary From address. (You can specify an arbitrary From name, but not email address.)

In Outlook, you can set any sender you want for an email, and that acts as the Reply-To, but then the recipient sees "CookingWithGas <Cooking@Gas.com> on Behalf of Board <board@myhoa.com>". I am not trying to hide the fact I'm on the board but I don't want to be the sender of the email.

I want this email to be sent as though it were sent from the board account, which doesn't actually exist.

We have a web site but it does not include email boxes (available at exorbitant extra charge). It does include four forwarders. There is also a web-based email capability, so I can use that to send emails as the board, but it does not allow you to select individual homeowners for the email; you must create a filter. I use the default "all users" filter all the time for announcements, but sending to individual homeowners is a ridiculous process.

I would think that I could send an email from any email I damn well please and my ISP's SMTP server shouldn't care, because it doesn't know what my domains are to begin with. I just don't know how to do it short of writing my own client to open a telnet session with the SMTP server.
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:26 PM
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Yes, if you use Outlook, AFAIK it authenticates the FROM address. Is outlook what you want to use? If so, what are you authenticating against? Our Outlook users authenticate against gmail or exchange, and mostly only send "from" addresses on the same domain, so it's just a matter of including permission for those users to send from those mail addresses.

On exchange, I can set up an external address at will, but I don't remember if gmail will let you do that: they may want to verify that you own the external domain (by demonstrating your ownership of the DNS records), or they may simply want to verify that you own the email address (by sending you a confirmation email at the address)
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:45 PM
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Yes, if you use Outlook, AFAIK it authenticates the FROM address. Is outlook what you want to use? If so, what are you authenticating against? Our Outlook users authenticate against gmail or exchange, and mostly only send "from" addresses on the same domain, so it's just a matter of including permission for those users to send from those mail addresses.

On exchange, I can set up an external address at will, but I don't remember if gmail will let you do that: they may want to verify that you own the external domain (by demonstrating your ownership of the DNS records), or they may simply want to verify that you own the email address (by sending you a confirmation email at the address)
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I would think that I could send an email from any email I damn well please and my ISP's SMTP server shouldn't care, because it doesn't know what my domains are to begin with. I just don't know how to do it short of writing my own client to open a telnet session with the SMTP server.
Your ISP cares because it is held responsible for the email it sends, so it only relays email for domains which it knows it is responsible for. If it allows the mail relay to be abused, it will end up on an email blacklist. This is why many ISPs have moved to not offering email hosting at all - they either resell gmail/hotmail/Outlook365 or just don't do it at all.

When I hosted my own domain email via a residential ISP I had to pay for access to a trusted SMTP relay service to send mail out to the world.

And you can't just try to send email directly - ISPs block or redirect SMTP traffic from residential IPs to their mail server, to prevent spambots getting their whole IP range blacklisted.
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Old 03-20-2020, 06:43 PM
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Your ISP cares because it is held responsible for the email it sends, so it only relays email for domains which it knows it is responsible for.
I don't understand what you mean by this. I use Verizon Fios at home and Comcast at work, and freely send and receive emails under my own domain name, which is not hosted by Verizon. They are in no way responsible for the domain.
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Old 03-20-2020, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I don't understand what you mean by this. I use Verizon Fios at home and Comcast at work, and freely send and receive emails under my own domain name, which is not hosted by Verizon. They are in no way responsible for the domain.
Right, but are you sending using their SMTP server? Just because you are connected to Verizon doesnt mean you are using their SMTP server - in fact, you probably arent, because most email accounts specify the correct SMTP server to use for any messages originating from that account.

(e.g blahbla@cox.net uses smtp.cox.net to send, blabla@cnn.com uses smtp.cnn.com)
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Old 03-20-2020, 07:30 PM
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At this point we have to notice that, independently of the email message headers we have been discussing, if you use SMTP to send mail you also need to specify a return path, which I believe should be a mailbox belonging to the list administrator but I'm not certain what the rules are. Again, if the spam filtering doesn't like it then the chances increase of your message getting bounced or disappearing.

Mailing lists still exist, so there must be a right way to do it.
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Old 03-20-2020, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
At this point we have to notice that, independently of the email message headers we have been discussing, if you use SMTP to send mail you also need to specify a return path, which I believe should be a mailbox belonging to the list administrator but I'm not certain what the rules are. Again, if the spam filtering doesn't like it then the chances increase of your message getting bounced or disappearing.

Mailing lists still exist, so there must be a right way to do it.
I manage a mailing list, and we have endless issues. Some mail servers simply wont handle messages from the list correctly, so we just tell those folks to subscribe with a different address.
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Old 03-21-2020, 07:36 AM
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Right, but are you sending using their SMTP server? Just because you are connected to Verizon doesnt mean you are using their SMTP server - in fact, you probably arent, because most email accounts specify the correct SMTP server to use for any messages originating from that account.
My email is hosted by GoDaddy and the servers are smtpout.secureserver.net and pop.secureserver.net.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:18 AM
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Gmail re-writes the from: field when I use an invalid email address, putting the original into X-Google-Original-From:

Does GoDaddy do that?

Is this a free GoDaddy account? I don't think the free accounts allow you configure an email alias at all?
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:03 AM
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My email is hosted by GoDaddy and the servers are smtpout.secureserver.net and pop.secureserver.net.
Right, so your ISP has nothing to do with it - you are just using them as a conduit to connect to Godaddy.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:35 PM
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It's not about comparing Reply-To and From as much as it is noticing that the email did not actually originate from the server where the From: line says.

Personally, I'd expect the only way to reliably do what the OP wants would be to actually set up the address to be able to send mail, and then log into that account when you need to send things. That is how I pull it off with multiple accounts on Gmail.

Also, FYI, Outlook.com will freak if you send more than one email from the same address in a short period of time. That's how dumb spam filters can be.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:26 PM
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Personally, I'd expect the only way to reliably do what the OP wants would be to actually set up the address to be able to send mail, and then log into that account when you need to send things. That is how I pull it off with multiple accounts on Gmail.
That would be nice but it's not possible for reasons described upthread. The hosting contract does not include email without a significant extra charge that our HOA does not think is worth paying.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before--I have my own web site with a mailing list, and it includes PHP code for the admin (me) to send email to the list. It's a small list, a dozen or so. I can put anything I want for From and Reply To. I could gin up a page to do this for the HOA.
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