How Do I Unsubscribe from All These Unwanted Emails?

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I am receiving a lot of unwanted e-mails from diet pills to pet supplies and I don’t want to keep deleting 100 e-mails every time I check my mail. I hate going into each e-mail one-by-one to unsubscribe and I don’t know how safe it is for me to open those e-mails in the first place. I was wondering is there an easy free way to unsubscribe without needing to open the e-mail.

I know that this is confusing, but it’s important to realize that there are emails that you can and should unsubscribe from, and emails that you absolutely should never, ever “unsubscribe” from.

I’ll explain why that is, and what the relatively simple rules turn out to be.

Read moreHow Do I Unsubscribe from All These Unwanted Emails?

Someone’s Sending from My Email Address! How Do I Stop Them?!

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People are telling me I’ve sent them email I know I haven’t. Supposedly it’s spam, and that’s not something I do. Has my account been hacked? How do I stop it?

While possible, it’s highly unlikely your account has been hacked. Whatever is happening is something significantly more benign. Sadly, it’s something you can do almost nothing about.

There are a couple of variations, so before we begin, let me also mention some articles that might more closely match your situation.

Read moreSomeone’s Sending from My Email Address! How Do I Stop Them?!

Why Is My Mail to this Person Not Getting Through?

Even after all these years, email spam remains a serious problem. With some people (like me) getting literally hundreds of unwanted messages per day, most internet service providers (as well as some individuals) take drastic steps to reduce the amount of junk mail arriving in their inboxes.

A problem with any anti-spam measure is that it will block some amount of legitimate email as well.

If email sent to one person is not getting through, but email sent to other people is generally working, it could be your email is being blocked by an anti-spam tool.

Read moreWhy Is My Mail to this Person Not Getting Through?

Why Is There so Much Spam?

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Between bouts of frustration with my inbox, I’ve been reading your various articles on spam. I think I’m slowly getting a handle on it all, but it sure seems crazy. And it really got me to wondering… why is there so much spam in the first place?

I feel your pain.

Some time ago, I did some research and looked at all my email for an entire year. Not only do I get a lot of email, but my calculations show that 87% of it was junk. Wow.

Why is there so much spam?

It’s very simple, really.

Spam works.

Read moreWhy Is There so Much Spam?

How Do I Get Rid of All this Spam?!?!

Spam is ubiquitous. Everyone gets spam. Those who aren’t will, and those who’re only getting a little will eventually get more.

I get many hundreds of spam messages a day. That’s probably nearer the high end of the average range, but it’s certainly not an uncommon amount.

While one source shows that spam has dropped to just under half of all email traffic for the first time in years, it certainly doesn’t seem that way in our mail folders, does it?

What’s a poor user to do?

Read moreHow Do I Get Rid of All this Spam?!?!

Why I (Still) Don’t Like Challenge/Response Spam Blockers

Some time ago, due to an error on my end, The Ask Leo! Newsletter came “From:” the wrong email address.

As a result, in addition to the usual flood of “I’m not in the office right now, but I’ll get back to you…” messages, I also received a number of what are called “challenge/response” messages. These are messages that often begin with: “I’m protecting myself from receiving junk mail. Please click the link below to complete the verification process.”

Uh … no. I can’t. I’m afraid I just don’t have the resources to click through or jump through additional hoops for hundreds of messages like this.

But, honestly, this isn’t about me; I’m concerned about you and what you may be missing.

Read moreWhy I (Still) Don’t Like Challenge/Response Spam Blockers

Why Does My IP Address Have a Bad Reputation? And What Do I Do?

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I found on Cisco’s Talos blog that my email reputation is “poor.” Apparently my IP address has been sending lots of email. But I haven’t! I have several computing devices: macOS 10.13.4, Windows 8.1 fully updated running Avast Free with weekly scans and a recent boot-time scan; MalwareBytes free with recent full “threat scan.” My wife uses a Chromebook (up-to-date). I use an iPad 2 and an iPhone 7 (both running iOS 11). Sometimes I use older iPhones (a 4S and a 5S). I have no IoT devices other than the router, a Pepwave Surf SOHO MK3. Pepwave says their routers are not affected by VPNFilter. I use a VPN most of the time on my portable devices, even at home. But not the Windows machine. Sometimes my Windows machine slows down, then recovers. My Windows hard drive often runs and runs. Other times, it times out, as expected. My ISP is TimeWarnerCable. I’m surprised they haven’t contacted me. Is there something I can to do detect outgoing traffic (including, but not restricted to, spam)?

I think it’s very unlikely you are sending spam. Possible, sure, but based on your description, you seem to have things well in hand.

It’s important to realize that you are not necessarily your IP address.

It’s also important not to read too much into anyone’s reputation report.

Read moreWhy Does My IP Address Have a Bad Reputation? And What Do I Do?

Why Doesn’t Blocking Email Senders Work?

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How can I block addresses that come repeatedly to my junk email box? It says I am blocking email but it does not work.

Blocking email by the “From:” address is seriously overrated; it’s effectively useless.

It promises to prevent email from a specific sender from reaching you, but if the sender determined, the block is easily bypassed. And spammers are determined … boy, are they determined! Blocking senders is useless in the war against spam.

I’ll explain why, and what I do instead.

Read moreWhy Doesn’t Blocking Email Senders Work?

How Can I Automatically Reply to Spammers To Tell Them to Stop?

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Can I set up an automatic email reply to all the [BULK…] emails I get telling them that such are not being received at my email address? Would it be advisable to do so; I get few if any that inform or provide any useful info. Or perhaps I need to ask “what is the best way to deal with [Bulk…] emails other than one by one?”

I’m going to assume that by “BULK” you mean unsolicited email, more commonly called spam: email you never signed up for and you simply don’t want.

Never, ever reply to spam. Period.

It won’t help, and will more likely make things worse.

So, while I suppose you could set up an automated reply, that’s not what I’m going to show you.

Instead, let me explain why replying to spam — automated or manually — is a really, really bad idea.

Read moreHow Can I Automatically Reply to Spammers To Tell Them to Stop?

Am I Wasting My Time Reporting Scam and Spam Emails?

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You once said that when it comes to email scams, we should just mark it as a scam or spam and move on. But I’ve found websites to report them to, and some email addresses to forward them to, and I’d like to think I’m doing some good. Are you saying that I’m wasting my time reporting email scams directly to these agencies?

Yes.

I just don’t believe reporting spam to these sites and services is worth the time and effort. I don’t see any harm in doing it; I just don’t think it helps.

I do want to be very clear, however, that a different type of “reporting spam” is very important, and we should all be doing that.

Read moreAm I Wasting My Time Reporting Scam and Spam Emails?

Why Does Email with a Lot of BCC’ed Recipients Bounce?

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Using Outlook I send 10 emails per day with 50 addresses in the BCC area. When sending to Australian addresses (where I live) I had no trouble. Now I am trying to send to addresses in USA, sourced the same way as the Australian addresses. However, with these USA addresses I am getting an absolutely huge number of bounced emails. What could cause this?

To me, the real question isn’t “Why are your emails to the U.S. bouncing?”

The real question is, “Why do your emails to Australian addresses work?”

Let me explain why I look at it that way.

Read moreWhy Does Email with a Lot of BCC’ed Recipients Bounce?

What’s This Confirmation Request I Got When I Emailed Someone?

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I emailed a colleague and within minutes got this email in response that said something like “please visit this link to confirm your identity in order for your mail to be delivered”. What’s that all about? Is it safe? Could it be spam, or phishing, or something else bad?

Welcome to spam wars. Today’s episode: “Revenge of the spammed”.

What you’re probably seeing is something called challenge/response. It’s a popular way for folks to control the amount of spam they get.

A lot of people love it. But a lot of people — people like you and me, who aren’t spammers — absolutely hate it.

Read moreWhat’s This Confirmation Request I Got When I Emailed Someone?

What’s the Difference Between Spam and Junk Mail?

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I use Thunderbird to download my email. Most of my email addresses are “@aol.com.” Each of those addresses have both a “junk” and a “spam” folder. Virtually everything that shows up in the junk folder is spam and everything that’s in the spam folder is junk. What’s the difference between the two folders? My more important question: for quite awhile I have been marking all my many emails in my spam folder as junk, moving them to the junk folder, and then deleting them. By doing so is Thunderbird and/or AOL “learning” anything — or am I just wasting my time?

This actually represents a couple of very common points of confusion. One is very easy to clear up; the other, not so much.

First, the easy: the terms junk and spam are synonymous. Some email programs or services call it spam, some call it junk mail, but it’s the same thing in either case. What you’re seeing in Thunderbird is what happens when those worlds collide.

The confusion about training the spam or junk filters, however, is both important to understand and somewhat more complex. While I’ll use your AOL account as an example, this applies to all email services and all desktop email programs1 that have spam filters.

Read moreWhat’s the Difference Between Spam and Junk Mail?

What Happens When I Mark Something as Spam?

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When I get an email from someone that I do not want to ever hear from again, I report it as spam. What really happens to it? Does my email service know what to do with it if it ever shows up again? Is there any protection for me? Does the person that sent the email know that I put it in the Spam folder?

There’s no definitive answer on exactly what happens, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.

However, some general concepts apply when you mark something as spam.

The first thing we need to know is whether you’re marking it as spam in an email program running on your machine, or if you’re using an email service’s web-based interface via your browser.

Read moreWhat Happens When I Mark Something as Spam?

Why am I getting email from someone with the wrong email address?

Recently, while I was away on a business trip, my wife received this email:

From: Leo A. Notenboom [mailto:********@yahoo.com.sg]
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:10 AM
To: ****@*********.***
Subject:

http://********.av.tr/cheeseblind/davidmiller24/?/b34a/

I’ve used asterisks to obfuscate a few things, but the essence is this:

  • The From: line displayed my name
  • However, the From: line also showed a completely random, unrelated email address that is most definitely not mine.
  • The email was sent to my wife’s email address.
  • The email message had no Subject line.
  • The email message consisted of only a link.

Because we communicate a fair amount by email when I travel, she thought it was from me and clicked the link.

Whoops.

I’ve been getting lots of reports of this particular scenario lately.

I’ll describe what I did next and what this appears to be… and perhaps reassure you a little about what it is not.

Read moreWhy am I getting email from someone with the wrong email address?

Should I Worry If Email I Send Is Marked as Spam?

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A business I was working with told me that they ‘sent my email address to spam’ because they didn’t like what I was asking of them. Now I’m a smidge worried. If they added my email address to their spam filter, does that mean I’m somehow going to be pegged as a spammer in the larger Internet world? I seem to recall that someone once told me that anytime someone clicks that a message is spam, it’s a strike against you. Enough strikes and we’re in trouble. I don’t remember how many strikes he said it took to be in trouble, though.

So…am I worrying about nothing? Or should I do something about it, if there’s anything to do, that is?

The answer is simple: do nothing.

The reason behind the answer, naturally, is quite complex.

Spam filters – particularly good spam filters – rely heavily on users marking things as spam. In a way, it’s a form of “crowd sourcing”, where  the actions of users build a database used to determine what is and is not spam in subsequently received emails.

Where your email is marked as spam, and who is doing the marking, has a lot to do with any potential impact on emails you send in the future.

Read moreShould I Worry If Email I Send Is Marked as Spam?

What Do Spam Filters Look At?

Someone commented to me that his spam filter was pretty useless since the spam he was receiving kept coming from different email addresses. The implication was that this person believed that the “From:” address is the only thing that spam filters check.

While that’s possible, it’s also very rare.

These days, spam filters are incredibly complex and sophisticated pieces of software that check much more than you might think.

Read moreWhat Do Spam Filters Look At?

Why Is My Email Marked as Spam?

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Each time I send emails to the US, China or here in the UK there are some recipients that eventually find my emails in their junk folders. We have tried to remedy this but even their IT departments are flummoxed. I (and they) just want to know why my emails do this despite their best endeavours to remedy it.

There are so many possibilities, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

I will tell you that there is no simple solution to guaranteeing your email is never flagged as spam. Why? Because if there were an easy solution, spammers would use it, rendering all spam filters ineffective.

Let’s look at some of the factors that may contribute to your email being flagged as spam.

Read moreWhy Is My Email Marked as Spam?

Am I Sending Spam?

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I am a musician. Every couple weeks or so, I will sit down and send a large number of emails (on average 150 – 200) to radio stations, magazines etc. in order to promote my music. My email will usually consist of an attached mp3 and/or links to YouTube videos etc., along with a bio/description about myself and my music. Though I have had many responses through email, there are still several that have never replied. It suddenly occurred to me, as well as not being interested in the music I am sending them, (can’t please everyone) could some of my emails be getting marked as spam?

I use a Hotmail account, which I know you say is bad. But I fear that suddenly changing my email will result in a loss of business. I used to send each email individually, personalizing each one, but since my contact list has grown there are not enough hours in the day to do this. So I use Bcc and send them all in one go.

My question is, do my infrequent emails qualify as spam? Despite the fact that they are spread out over numerous weeks, do the large quantities mean that only a certain number are getting through daily?

In short: yes. It’s very likely that your emails are being sent to spam folders.

There are several things that could contribute to this. I’ll review what I think those are, and what I recommend you do instead.

Read moreAm I Sending Spam?

Why Am I Getting Spam from Myself?

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I get email from:

someone@somedomain.com
<myemail@hotmail.com>

where “someone@somedomain.com” is someone I don’t know, but “myemail@hotmail.com” is, in fact, my email address. It as if I was getting spam from myself, but I did not send it.

How do I stop these emails from coming into my box? It’s usually for drugs or financial services that I don’t need or would never be interested in. How can they use my own email? I can’t block them as it says it is illegal to block my own email.

I’ll start with the bad news: there’s almost nothing you can do.

This is spam, pure and simple. Abusing your email address is only one of many techniques spammers use to throw their garbage into our mail boxes.

The remedies are pretty standard, albeit less than 100% effective.

Read moreWhy Am I Getting Spam from Myself?

How Do I Stop Outlook.com from Putting Legitimate Messages in the Junk Mail Folder?

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My outlook.com is putting legitimate emails into its junk mail folder. I use 2011 Outlook on my Mac. I never see the emails because outlook.com is putting them in junk mail at the outlook.com site, and is not forwarding them to me. It seems very random, but some of my closest friends’ emails are going into the junk folder as well as other legitimate contacts.
Can I just not use outlook.com, do I need it? How I stop the filtering of legitimate emails in to the outlook.com junk folder?

Spam is an incredible problem, and email providers go to great lengths to filter it out. Microsoft is no different – their email infrastructure deals with an incredible amount of spam, I’m sure.

As it turns out, with any one of Microsoft’s email addresses – @live.com, @hotmail.com, @outlook.com and others – you’re still really using Outlook.com whether or not you ever visit it on the web.

Let’s look at the options you have to make sure you get the email you want.

Read moreHow Do I Stop Outlook.com from Putting Legitimate Messages in the Junk Mail Folder?

Why Was My Email Bounced for Sending Too Much Spam?

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I have just received the message that my response to an e-mail from a friend could not get delivered because there is too much SPAM coming from that IP; the IP given is {removed} but that is NOT MY IP. (Mine is totally different, according to what I saw on the link you posted sometime ago). What is going on? How can I be “punished” for something I did not do? I have NEVER sent SPAM to anyone.

You are exactly right: you are being punished for the actions of others.

To understand who those “others” are, we need to look at how email makes it off of your computer to its destination.

Read moreWhy Was My Email Bounced for Sending Too Much Spam?

Why Does My Account Keep Sending Out Spam?

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Hi, Leo. I changed my password four times on Yahoo yet my account keeps sending out spam. I’ve emailed Yahoo with a spammers address. Where can I report someone who’s stolen my contacts to email people? At least I have the address of just the last one who stole my account. What should I do? People are annoyed because I keep sending out spam – four times in one month. What should I do besides changing passwords and security questions? Even if I change to a non-Yahoo for email don’t these people already have my contacts somehow? Is there a way to delete my contacts? How do I report these people? I feel like Yahoo did nothing with the last ones.

There’s a bucket-load of issues here, and quite frankly an awful lot of confusion.

This can be a very frustrating situation, but what happens next, if anything, depends on what’s really going on.

Read moreWhy Does My Account Keep Sending Out Spam?

I got two identical spam messages from two friends. Which of us has been hacked?

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Leo, I’ve received two emails from two different friends, both of which have the same link in them. Hotmail threw both of them into junk mail area so I was suspicious and didn’t click on the link and deleted them. But I was wondering, have they been hacked? Or have I? Should I warn them or start looking into my own vulnerability?

Without looking at the actual message source (meaning the headers that you don’t normally look at) it’s nearly impossible to say. It could be you, but ultimately, I don’t think it’s likely. It could be them. Or, believe it or not, it could be nothing at all.

Read moreI got two identical spam messages from two friends. Which of us has been hacked?

Someone Is Signing Me Up for Newsletters I Don’t Want — What Can I Do?

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Some nasty minded individual, maybe an upset employee or an ex-employee seems to be trying to disrupt my email. Recently I’ve started receiving very many free subscriptions to all kinds of online newsletters, publications and other absolute garbage ranging from kids’ clothes to women’s makeup to porn. One day I received over 50 and they keep on coming.

Probably half of these do the correct thing in that I have to respond before they will add me to their mailing lists. The problem is that the other half doesn’t and I just keep getting their emails. Most of these are really a pain to get rid of. I’ve tried unsubscribing many times but they keep coming back. I’m using Thunderbird as my email client, which really doesn’t have any effective spam filter, that I’m aware of. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do?

The very short answer is to treat the messages as spam. I’ll explain why, and I’ll talk about Thunderbird’s spam filter (which does exist), and an alternative solution within Thunderbird.

Read moreSomeone Is Signing Me Up for Newsletters I Don’t Want — What Can I Do?

Can’t We Just Spam the Spammers to Death?

I received a rather lengthy question that mentioned a specific service that claims to turn the tables on spammers either by spamming them back or by somehow using the content of their spam messages in an attempt to harm them in some way… or at least annoy the heck out of them.

Now as much as spam angers us, besides ultimately being ineffective, vigilante justice just isn’t the answer.

Read moreCan’t We Just Spam the Spammers to Death?

Why am I suddenly getting spam in my inbox?

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Hi, there. I’ve been using my Yahoo email since 2009 and I’ve never had problems with receiving so many spams into my inbox folder. But recently, within like the last two weeks, there was an abrupt influx of some spams claiming that I had won lotteries other that I’m eligible to their belongings and they’re all managing to authenticate themselves to Yahoo’s servers because I’m finding themselves in my inbox folder, not my spam folder. Now I know that these are scams but my question is why is it after all these years of using my email, I’m now encountering this problem?

Spam and spam fighting is a really complex game of cat and mouse. Spammers are constantly trying to find their way into your inbox. I have a few ideas of what could possibly have happened in your situation.

Read moreWhy am I suddenly getting spam in my inbox?

I’m drowning in spam. What can I do?

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I receive about 300 emails daily. I have no one to help me and I would like to be able to block all this crap. I am not very smart about PCs and need the simple instructions that I can follow. If I continue to receive certain pornographic or offensive emails, how do I ban them? If I open it up to get their email address to try to block them, what happens then? I need all the help that I can get because this is too much to take care of daily. I do delete my history daily, but I don’t think that helps in blocking them. I use Yahoo as my mail provider and am on Windows 7.

Assuming you mean you get 300 spam emails a day, I’ll agree that’s a fair amount. Between my various email accounts, I suspect that I get probably around half that.

The question is not how to stop spam. Ultimately, there’s no way for you and me to do that.

The questions are really how to deal with it when you get it so that it’s merely a minor annoyance rather than an overwhelming chore, and how to avoid it, or at least minimize it, in the first place.

Read moreI’m drowning in spam. What can I do?

How Do I Stop All this Spam?

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I receive about 300 emails daily. I have no one to help me and I would like to be able to block all this crap. I am not very smart about PCs and need some simple instructions to follow. If I continue to receive certain pornographic or offensive emails, how do I ban them? If I open it up to get their email address to try to block them, what happens then? I need all of the help that I can get because this is too much to take care of daily. I do delete my history daily, but I don’t think that helps in blocking them. I use Yahoo! as my mail provider and I am on Windows 7.

Assuming that you mean you get 300 spam emails a day, I’ll agree that’s a fair amount. Between all my various email accounts, I suspect that I get probably around that much.

The question is not how to stop spam. Ultimately, there’s no way for you or I to do that.

The questions are how to deal with it when you get it so that it’s merely a minor annoyance rather than an overwhelming chore and how to avoid it, or at least minimize it, in the first place.

Read moreHow Do I Stop All this Spam?

Why can’t we catch scammers?

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Why is it that, with so much law enforcement, online scammers who do the money mule scam can’t be fully decommissioned on a global scale? What they do is send random emails and tell the victim that they can make good money by being a work-at-home shipping representative when in fact, it’s a reshipping fraud.

To a certain degree, I understand and sympathize with your reaction, particularly if you have been victimized by these scammers in the past.

But this is a more difficult problem to solve than most people realize. The single biggest reason why it’s so hard to deal with is that it’s international. To address the issues, law enforcement groups in basically every country on the planet would have to cooperate in real time.

Read moreWhy can’t we catch scammers?

Why Isn’t Outlook’s Junk Mail Filter Stopping More Spam?

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I’ve been puzzled about my Outlook 2007 junk filter for a long time now. The junk filter is set high and it seems to do a pretty good job of catching the majority of flagrant spam. What puzzles me is that there are certain senders that I’ve marked as junk, but email from these senders still somehow seems to find a way to evade the filter and come into my inbox anyway. Some of these are the flagrant kind but others are seemingly legitimate companies or individuals. What is strange is that I can even create rules to move items from these particular senders to the deleted folders, but the rules seem to have no power to do so. Are these senders doing something unethical or sneaky to get the past filters and their rules? One of the senders is using Constant Contact. Does this mean that they’re an unethical company? What’s really going on here?

First, let me begin by saying Constant Contact is certainly an ethical company. The problem is that as an email service provider, the people that send email using them may or may not be.

Companies like Constant Contact and my favorite, Aweber, will actually check to make sure that their users are being ethical or they’ll terminate their account. Unfortunately, there’s a window of time where the unethical users will continue to send spam before the company actually finds out.

No, you’re right. What’s happening here is that the senders are in fact being sneaky.

Read moreWhy Isn’t Outlook’s Junk Mail Filter Stopping More Spam?

Why Am I Getting Bounced Notices to Messages I Didn’t Send?

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I keep getting the “cannot deliver email” message from someone that I didn’t send anything to or don’t even have in my contacts list. Why is that and what do I do?

Unfortunately, the second part of your question is actually the easier part.

What do you do? Nothing. You can’t do much about that.

But why is it happening? Well, that’s an interesting scenario.

Read moreWhy Am I Getting Bounced Notices to Messages I Didn’t Send?

Why Am I Being Labeled a Spammer?

As I write this, over 125,000 people have my email address. Probably more, but that’s the number of people subscribed to my newsletter. Right there on the “From:” line is an email address.

Naturally, some of them will forward me jokes, virus warnings and other hoaxes or urban legends. I know that they mean well and do so with the best of intentions.

But, I mark them all as spam. I have to.

Because that’s what they are.

Even if I don’t, others may, and because of that, there’s a very important lesson here in making sure that the rest of your email keeps getting delivered.

Read moreWhy Am I Being Labeled a Spammer?

Why Am I Getting (or Sending) Emails that Contain only a Link or Spam from My Contacts?

If you’re getting emails from a contact of yours that have either no subject line or one that doesn’t make sense and the message consists of a link to a site that you’ve never heard of…

Your contact’s email has likely been hacked.

If people are telling you that they’re getting these messages from you… well, you can guess what it means.

It’s your email account that’s likely been hacked into.

Read moreWhy Am I Getting (or Sending) Emails that Contain only a Link or Spam from My Contacts?

Why do I get spam that’s not addressed to me?

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Why do I receive junk emails that are not addressed to my specific email address but to several subtle variations of my address? Why do these emails get delivered to my address when they are not addressed specifically to me? And how should I most properly dispose of them?

Spammers do everything they can to get their garbage in front of you, and that means using and abusing every tool at their disposal.

One of those tools is something that’s available to you and me when we send messages as well.

Read moreWhy do I get spam that’s not addressed to me?