What's with the postmaster@*** telling me I've sent spam?

Yesterday I got e-mail from some ISP’s postmaster saying I’d sent some spam. Since I didn’t, I clicked the nifty little “report spam & block sender” button. Well, today I got e-mail from another ISP’s postmaster saying I’d sent e-mail they think is probably spam. Since I didn’t send that e-mail either, I did the same “report spam & block sender” cure.

Here are my questions:
[ul][li]Is there any chance my e-mail account had, in fact, sent the e-mail in question? Before hitting the “report & block,” I did check my outgoing e-mail folder & nothing appeared.[/li][li]Am I getting this crap because someone’s forged my e-mail address into their spam?[/li][li]Is blocking the ISP postmaster of the offending site going to do any good?[/li][li]What can I do to protect myself from this crap? I’m running NOrton AntiVirus Corporate Edition and I scan for virii regularly. I also run the scandisk & defrag utilities regularly, in addition to checking the task manager from time-to-time to see if there’s some unfamiliar program running.[/li]Doesn’t this prove that spammers are causing harm to someone with their unethical, immoral, and should-be-eligible-for-the-death-penalty stunt?[/ul]

There are more than two possibilities. Here are the more likely ones.

  1. Someone’s used your address in the from field and a legitimate postmaster has sent you the email.

  2. More likely - It’s probably spam itself and just testing to see if your email address is active.

What was the subject line ?

xash: I just realized 60 seconds ago that it might be #2.

Subject lines:
[list=1][li]Perscript1on Meds to your door overnight! [ lomgqvrca[/li][li]Undeliverable Message[/list=1][/li]Number two had more information. It said that the original spam e-mail “I” had sent had the subject: Perscript1on Meds to your door overnight! [ jrarjod. It also said that the original spam was sent using Outlook. Since I don’t use that, it would be very nifty trick for me to have done so!

Brace yourself to be flooded with several hundred of these bounce-back messages. The same thing happened to me last month and the only thing I could really do was weather the storm. ISPs are pretty much helpless to aid you and the forged email headers preclude tracing them back to the source. The web site host, in my case, was based in China which is a notorious refuge for spammers.

The good news is that I haven’t received any of the bounce backs for a couple of weeks now so it appears that my address was only forged once. Hopefully, this will be the case for you. Good Luck.

Hodge: I thank you for the heads up. How depressing. China, huh? Well, maybe some spammers will get their just due.

I got one of these a few days ago, from postmaster at Dell.com. The fact that Dell was capitalized was kind of a tipoff, and it looked like spam, so I deleted it. I haven’t gotten any more, so maybe there’s hope. :slight_smile:

Well, capitalization doesn’t affect the validity of an email address. The delivery programs actually ignore the capitalization of any alphabetic characters, so it’s routable no matter how it’s capitalized.

This leads to a small trick: Use different capitalizations when giving your email address to different groups (web forms, subscriptions, etc.). By noting the capitalization on spam routed to you, you can judge who’s giving your address to whom.

There are better ways to do this. The best is to give each group a different email address. If you run your own mailserver, this is trivially accomplished. If you don’t, try sneakemail to get a web-based service based around this principle.