My email address is being used to send out spam, what should I do?

Getting an avalanche of "undeliverable" Email messages from strangers may give the impression that your E-mail account or the E-mail system has been "hacked".  Often this isn't the case and here we explain a bit more about what is going on and how we deal with such problems.

10 April 2012 Frequently Asked Questions  E-mail, Security

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If you are receiving "undeliverable" messages from people/e-mail addresses you have never sent to before it may give the impression that your E-mail account or the E-mail system has been "hacked".

In reality this is very rarely the case and what is happening is that people are simply using your E-mail address (rather than your account) to mask who has really sent the message. It isn't a difficult thing to do but does cause some confusion about who the sender actually is as the returned message often doesn't make a great deal of sense unless you know how to intepret it.

Our recommended approach in such matters is to review the actual body of the message that was originally sent (usually attached to the "undeliverable" message) to see if it names you or your organisation specificially.

If the messages being sent are general spam - i.e. trying to sell goods/services we will not usually take any action unless the volumes being received are exceptionally high or continue for a period of more than a few days. The spammer typically move to another address very quickly (after a few hours) and the undeliverable messages stop.

But if the messages do specifically name you or 15 New Bridge Street then let us know - we may recommend posting an advisory on the website as your name/organisation may be being used for phishing (a process of luring an individual to part with money). We will also review your account to be sure it hasn't been hacked and may also recommend responding to individuals directly or in certain cases forwarding on the messages to the police, ISP etc.

What should you do now?

If you believe an E-mail is being distributed specially naming you or your organisation in the body of the message, let us know. Otherwise we recommend you wait a few days and if the messages continue let us know again and we will investigate further and may put a temporary block on them until they stop.

Note if this problem relates to a personal E-mail account (i.e. a non-Chambers/office E-mail account) then you will need to speak to your E-mail service provider directly - there is very little we ourselves can do to investigate or suppress such messages and they will not accept any instructions from us on your behalf.

If you have any other queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tags  email junk scam spam

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