Someone’s sending from my email address! How do I stop them?!

Email spoofing is rampant. Spammers often send email that looks like it came from you. And there's little that you can do about it.

Someone’s sending from my email address! How do I stop them?!

Variations on a Theme

There are several variations on this issue, so before we begin, let me also mention some articles that might more closely match your situation:

If email is being sent to your contacts without your having done so and you find messages in your Sent Mail folder that you did not send, then your email account has probably been compromised. See Someone’s sending email that looks like it’s from me to my contacts, what can I do?

In particular, if your contacts are getting mail from you that claims that you’re stranded in some foreign country and need money, your email account has almost certainly been compromised. You want Someone’s stolen my email account and is scamming my contacts for money, what do I do?

If email that you do send is now automatically including an ad of some sort that reads as if you wrote it, then Why do messages I compose in Hotmail now start with an ad that looks like it’s from me?

If you’re getting email that appears to be “From:” your name or a name you recognize, but showing as “From:” the wrong email address that’s this: Why am I getting email from someone with the wrong email address?.

Finally, if people you don’t know are getting email “From:” you, then there’s probably nothing wrong at all. And you’re reading the right article right here.

No SPAM!It’s Not Your Fault

You’re minding your own business and one day, you get email from someone who you’ve never heard of and they’re asking you to stop sending them email. Or worse, they’re angry. Or worse yet, they accuse you of sending them a virus! But you don’t know them, you’ve never heard of them, and you know that you’ve never sent them email.

Welcome to the world of viruses where you can get the blame for someone else’s infection. And there’s worse news to come.

Before I get to that, there is always a small possibility that your email account has been compromised. The solution there is simple: change your password immediately. That should prevent someone who’s using your account for malicious purposes from continuing, assuming that you’ve chosen a good password. (If you find that your account has indeed been compromised, you may want to change more than just your password.)

Welcome to the world of viruses where you can get the blame for someone else’s infection.

But these days, that’s not the most common cause for the situation that I’ve described – viruses are. And what’s worse – there’s almost nothing that you can do.

The typical virus that does this infects someone’s machine and then sends spam, lots of spam, forging the “From:” address for the email that it sends. What addresses does it use to forge the address? Any address that it can find and probably at random. That could be other email addresses that it’s sending to, email addresses fed to it by a botnet, or perhaps even the addresses in the address book of the infected machine. The infected machine will send email to everyone that it can, looking as if it was sent by other people.

And you could be one of those “other people”, even if you had nothing to do with any of this.

Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Email

Let’s use a concrete example: Peter’s machine gets infected with a virus. In his address book are entries for his friends, Paul and Mary. Paul and Mary have never met, have never exchanged email, and do not know each other – they each just know Peter. The virus on Peter’s machine will send email with the virus to Paul looking like it came from Mary. Paul may wonder who the heck this Mary person is and why she’s sending him a virus, but she was never involved.

If you’re in Mary’s place, you can see that it would be frustrating to be accused of something that you had nothing to do with and have no control over.

For the record, your email address may end up in the address books of people who you don’t know as well. Various email programs will automatically hold on to additional email addresses that were included on email that you received or possibly from email that was forwarded. Viruses have also been known to use other sources of email addresses or even forward them around as the virus spreads. What that means is that the simple “friend of a friend” example that I used with Peter, Paul, and Mary, while simple and certainly possible, is not the only way that your email could show up as a forged “From” line.

What’s important here is simply this – one way or another, email viruses lie about who sent them.

There’s Little You Can Do

If someone accuses you of sending a virus-laden email and you are positive that you did not do it, then you have very little recourse other than to try to educate them about how viruses work. Point them at this article if you like. But be clear – you’re not necessarily infected nor is the person who received the mail claiming to be from you. It’s some third party who is. (And identifying that third party is difficult – this is why virus writers use this technique.)

In other words, there’s nothing that you can do.

And of course be sure that you’re not going to get infected yourself: don’t open attachments from people you don’t know and make sure that you have an up-to-date virus checker and virus definitions file. My recommendations are here: What Security Software do you recommend?


  1. Wayne

    One other thing that was not pointed out is spammers. I received a bounced mail message that was spam. I didn’t send the original message, but the bounced mail message came back to me because the spammer had used my email address as the return address.

  2. Talking about information being available in the headers… What are the chances that mail gateways and virus scanners become intelligent enough to know when a “From:” field is spoofed? I mean – the information is there about who the *actual* person is who sent it. Why not extract that? This could have a siginifcant impact on viruses specifically.

    Is tehre any specific reason why this is *not* done? I can’t believe that nobody have thought about this before, so, there must be some reason for it not being like this…



  3. Well, there are two problems: 1) *all* the information in mail headers can be spoofed – meaning you’re not guaranteed that you know who the actual person is. 2) Many mailers get it “wrong” … meaning that legitimate email can often not pass the type of test you’re talking about. Many mail servers have the ability to enable additional checking along those lines … when I turned that on on my server I started losing about 2% of *legitimate* email.

    If there’s to be a real solution, IMO it needs to be with some fundamental protocol changes that will formally validate the sender. There are proposals out there, but wide scale adoption fo any is a way out, I think.


  4. Teresa

    I just had about 30 emails bounced back to me saying undeliverable that i never sent out. I dont know if there is any way i can take care of this. From what I understand (and read above) there isnt any. Can you shed anymore light on this situation? It would really be appreciated

    • Paul Byrley

      Several times in the past 5 years I have received a bunch of returned emails within a couple of days. I now ( think I) know that means that some crook has figured out my email password and is using my email account. Some of the addresses he sends to, using my email address, have been closed so the email is returned to me. I immediately go to my email account and change my email password. That stops all returned mail. The email provider has gotten more pro-active too and requires that I sign on with my password fairly often.

    • Mark Jacobs

      That doesn’t necessarily mean you were hacked, but it could be. It’s also possible for someone who knows your email address to falsely use it as their return address. To be on the safe side I’d follow the steps necessary to secure my email account after being hacked.
      Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to do NOW

      Unfortunately, if you haven’t been hacked, you won’t be able to stop getting those bounce messages because thy could simply continue to spoof your address to send emails.

  5. I’m not exactly sure what more light I can shed. Is there perhaps something specific I didn’t address in the article that I can answer for you?


    • John, Scotland

      This isn’t quite the same thing but I’ve recently noticed that some of the spam emails I’m receiving are headed ‘Charlie’ or ‘Ethan’ or various other names. What has me worried is that many of these names – more than seems coincidental – are the names of characters I’ve recently created in various screenplays and treatments I’ve been working on. Is it possible that my documents are being viewed remotely or that I have some kind of Trojan Horse on my system that is monitoring my keystrokes? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

  6. matt

    I have a dormant yahoo account that I quit using two months ago, just last week I thought to check it and found failed delivery notices with mydoom attachments (sent to addresses I know nothing about). For the past two weeks I have tried contacting yahoo, changing passwords, but have been unable to do either, the problem is persisting. How can I close the account and find out the origination.

  7. My advice: just stop looking at the account. Forget it exists. Yahoo will clean it up and remove it eventually.

    Here’s the deal: the problem isn’t at your end, nor potentially even at Yahoo’s. It’s that your yahoo email address, for whatever reason, has been used by a third party who’s infected with a virus, as outlined in the article above. There’s nothing you or Yahoo can actually do.

    So if you truly no longer need the Yahoo account … just ignore it.


  8. Unless you have hard data to show that it’s being done intentionally, my opinion is that you’re wasting your time. Fact is, as the article outlines, it’s quite possible that it *is* unintentional. At best you might track down someone who’s machine is infected with a virus. Whether or not they’ll appreciate being informed is anyone’s guess. Spammers do fake return addresses on purpose, but they tend to use invalid ones rather than real ones.

    Good luck, whatever direction you take.


  9. I’m not a lawyer, but … I don’t believe that the company who’s products are being sold is neccessarily liable … it’s the company that’s doing the advertising campaign (typically a third party). That being said, there are definitely proposals to go after the businesses being advertised … the problem is they can always claim “we had no idea, we hired these marketters over here”.

    Personally I’m not convinced we can sue our way out of this.


  10. I own a domain … and, in that domain I have it set to receive all email that’s sent to ANYTHING @ Well, this morning, I received 126 “returned mail” messages, and looking at the headers, I could see that they were sent “from” all sorts of different usernames @ There was no rhyme or reason to the subject matter … some were spam-related, others seemed to definitely be virus-related. I guess my question is … Has my domain been compromised, or my email, or my computer? Or all of the above? I’ve turned off the feature on my website that forwards all email to me, no matter what the info before “@” is, but this will only make it so that I’m not bothered with the returned mail. It won’t fix the problem, right? Is there anywhere that I can report all this abuse? I obviously want to delete all the messages, but want to make sure first that there isn’t somewhere I can forward them. I mean, this IS illegal, isn’t it?

    Thanks for any advice …

  11. It’s a classic case of *exactly* what this article is all about. You’ve not been compromised, it’s not your fault, and there’s nothing you can really do. Tracking is almost impossible, and there’s nowhere to report the level of information you do have. Sucks, I know. I’m in the same situation with a couple of domains. In my case my junk mail filter (Outlook 2003’s built in) works really well at filtering out the junk. I’ve noticed that many of the “bounces” are actually to a handfull of bogus addresses @ my domain. If your emailer supports any kind of rules, you could simply auto-delete mail sent to those addresses you know are bogus.

    And yes, it’s illegal: there’s a virus writer out there that deserves some serious jail time, in my opinion.


  12. Luke

    I have been experiencing the problem with apparent unauthorized usage of my email (returned mail that I never sent). There are some other things that have occurred within the same time frame and I am wondering if they are related. By the way I have changed my email and computer passwords and the problems persist. The other things that happened are:
    1. I was unable to change the internet options on IE6. An error message appeared saying that this was restricted and I should contact the system administrator (me!). This was corrected by going back a month with the system restore.
    2. The other anomaly is that my Norton firewall keeps turning off and and the intrusion protections is also deactivated. The options in Norton are set so this should not happen. It does each time I reboot.
    I run virus scans every few days and have never been “infected” according to Norton. I have had a few rejected emails and a few intrusion alerts.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

  13. Well, there is a small chance you are still infected with a virus … not all scanners catch all viruses, and some viruses are good at hiding from the scanners. Try one of the other scanners (there are free on-line one’s that I’d use for this purpose), and see if they report anything.

    Also spyware may be suspect as well. Especially for the IE behaviour you described. Grab a copy of Spybot or Ad-Aware and run those scans as well.

    (Links on my recommendations page: )

    Best of luck,


  14. Glenn

    Same thing is happening to me as Heide above – except I’m getting fewer – about ten failed delivery notices each day relating to invented names at my own domain, plus a few ‘virus warning’ replies from other companies. If a virus is spoofing my email address how likely do you think it is that providers might put a block on mail from our domain, which would mean that our legitimate business mail wouldn’t get through? What would we do if this happens?

  15. olarene

    i’ve read all these questions but didn’t see any answers to them of what to do. i’m getting failed messages from people i never heard of. changed my password and it didn’t do anything. if i changed my email address would this help as they are using mine now.

    • Connie Delaney

      Getting a new email address would help for awhile. Eventually spammers will find you again and put you on their lists.

  16. Glenn: ‘likely’, probably not any more, since most email administrators are now aware of this issue. However it is, unfortunately, still possible. Wrong. But possible.


  17. romkenn

    A friend of mine claims she has gotten some virus from me and I know I did not send one. I have McAfee virus protection, I have checked my computer for spyware, it shows no spyware on the computer. Could the friend possibly have gotten E-mail from me that I did not send?

  18. Leo

    If you mean the type of email as described in the article here, yes that’s certainly a possibilty. Has your friend identified which virus?

  19. beth

    Is it possible that a virus of this sort that is being discussed could actually change my email account password? I have tried to change this on the actual web site and it refuses to let me log in. I am having the same problems with returned mail but I cannot seem to change my password.Until I can change this, I can’t change my password on outlook.
    Cheers in advance.

  20. Leo

    I’ve not heard of any viruses that actually *change* passwords. My recommendation would be to have your provider reset your password and then change it again yourself.

  21. Emerald

    The other day, a friend whom I have been recently coresponding with, thought she might not be receiving all my mail that I sent her. Now I usually save a copy to my sent folder, so I went there and copied prior dates and sent them out in one email, she received this one and said, for sure there were two emails I sent, where she did not receive them. Then the other day, another friend said she received my second email, not the first one. Why is this happening, here I am trying to find employment as well and I have no way of knowing if my intended receiver is receiving my emails?
    Also have you ever heard of this; It is some sort of spyware or hacker, I am not sure, all I know is when I take the address and place in the Privacy blocker in internet options, it appears in a new number like it’s already been 1-19, today was 20. It won’t go away, I use Spybot and Destroy and Ad Ware, but neither seem to grasp it. Also what might nmpjgg32.exe be? I am ponder many thoughts, but will allow you to extinguish those, maybe. Thank you B

  22. Emerald

    I just wrote in a minute ago, I also wanted to mention how strange it seems, that I seem to be not receiving anyemails, where would they be, any way to retrieve them if I have never opened them? Cheers, B

  23. Walter Schmid

    If you don’t seem to be receiving emails, it is possible that you clicked on a line in Outlook Express that hides all your emails.

    Open Outlook Express and click on (View)and select (Current View). If there is a Dot beside (Hide all messages), then change to dot to (Show all messages).

    If that was the problem, you should now see all your emails. Hope it works.


  24. Justin

    Yeah… I am a WebTV user, and for the past month or so, I’ve been getting mail delivery failure notification emails from different addresses.

    The returned emails that they claim to be mine are in German, and they’re talking about Lebanese people in Berlin.

    It says that they’re being sent fro mmy address, but as far as I know, my email is only accessable from my WebTV terminal, here in my room. I also have no password to change, and the only alternative I can think of would be to make a new WebTV account, and move all of my info and everything to it. But this will take me a long time, and I will lose a lot of my information that is currently on the account I am using.

    What do I do? How do I stop whoever this is from using my address? Do I or one of my friends have a virus? Help, please…


    –Justin Spurgeon

  25. mark hirschel

    I am using outlook 2002. Sometimes when I finish sending emails, I go and look in my sent folder, and some of the message was not sent in its entirety. Basically, it seems to cut out the last few lines of my email. Any idea why this is happening?


  26. nilesh

    a virus takes email from my address book send sends to them which i had mentioned in my address if this thing is happening again and again then sure i will loose my contacts

    so please help me out in this case

  27. zak

    how can i make my compture fast by removing virusses can u help me please my friend.

    thanks for reading my mail can u send me the cure for virus.i appresheated my friend. thanks

  28. Robert K. Watts

    I changed from CS to AOL on 07/02/2004. Within a few days, my address had been compromised and was responsible for quite a few referrals for several problems. At Cs, the same problem existed and I changed my password; to no avail, because the stolen address kept being used. I have used the above “handle” ever since two-way radios became popular with no problem, but this experience has disappointed me to no end – especially wince the last incident has mentioned a virus.

  29. John E. Lewis

    I am receiving mail from it says this address has a permeanent fatal errors. It is coming from(The orginal message was received at Wed.27 )ct2004 07:51:02-0400(EDT)from Down in the email it say 550MAILBOX NOT FOUND, 550User unknown
    I have been receiving this same leter for months and months I have be4n just deleting it out but then someone said it might have a virus hidden, please help me.

  30. Leo

    It certainly could contain a virus, so deleting it is definitely the right thing to do. It’s probably being sent *by someone else* who is infected with a virus. My advice: delete and ignore.

  31. Love Mamo

    This has happened to me so many times and everytiem it happens I look back on this article for condolences. Today it has happened again, and every day for the past week my e-mail has sent virsues to hudnreds of people and companies I don’t know. Sometimes people in other countries even as well professional companies. I am actually taking the time to send each and everyone an e-mail telling them it was not me. However, I think I should forget it. Their are hundreds of people and having to click the message to get the e-mail and send another e-mail has gotten to be a real pain.

  32. Love Mamo

    Every day I someone is using my e-mail address to send hudnreds of messages and viruses to people. I have gotten hundreds of messages saying that a virus has been detected in tons of messages, but still the body of the message is sent, and they write messages with viruses attached. I know how you feel.

  33. edelina enriquez

    im so happy that i found this site, this will be the solution of all the problems that happened to my email accounts. My email ad has been hacked by someone. I tried my best to get it back but i failed. Please, help me. My ID was
    I also received an email from telling that my mother died.The name appeared was my cousin’s. She denied her email ad is different not but her name appear on the senders name. Can you find out who’s this guy?
    My email ad :

  34. The best thing to do when you suspected someone is using your e-mail to send spam is to tell the victim to read the e-mail header. E-mail header contain the IP address of the sender as well as the recipient IP and other useful information.

    Not only virus can steal or grab your e-mail and use it by someone for spamming. I, as a web developer who managed have had dealt this kind of problem before. I caught the the person who used my e-mail. How did he do it? Simple, he created an Active Server Page form mail, and on the “FROM” field, he put the value=”” and send it. Whoever receive the e-mail would think it was comming from me. This kind of technique had been use by many webmaster who knows server-script programming.


  35. jim Lee


    I would just like to know how come
    there isn’t anything that can be
    done about viruses that send out

    Are these people just trying to
    bother people.

    Or are they spammers. If they are
    spammers they must be trying to
    sell something. And would have
    to be using a return address for
    people to order from.

    So if sending a virus is illegal.

    How come the police don’t go after them

    Thank You


  36. They are going after them. In fact one virus writer recently made the news as he was sentenced after having been found guilty in court. Most virus writers do it to prove they can, and simply to cause trouble. It’s rarely about spam. And it’s VERY difficult to trace down the people who write the viruses in the first place. Then, if you do find them, many are overseas where it’s either impossible, or too costly, to prosecute.

  37. babaji

    pls pls somebody hack my password and pls u give me my password in thias my email address my email address is [Personal Information Removed]

  38. jhansi

    pls help me to delete my hotmail account .somebody has hacked it n has changed my password. he s sending dirty stuff from my, plsssss help me deleting my account

  39. Sara

    ya hii… umm someone made an account wit my first name and last name.. and they added all my friends on msn.. and they are pretending to be me.. and they are saying bad stuff to people..all i want to do is either find out who this person is.. or close this accunt soo they cant use it anymore. because lots of people think its me on there and its not.. and i dont like that

    • Laurel

      I realize this is in reply to a 10-year old comment, but what I have done is proactively created the several email addresses I know I will want on the main servers, and just occasionally use them to keep them active.

      Not cool for the others who share my name, but it does help protect my name.

      I would also suggest this for parents also to protect the name and internet-never-forgets reputation of their children, even young ones. (Or especially young ones.)

  40. jacquescowan

    Someone has hacked into my emails and is causing both me and my family considerable problems
    Is there a way to find out how this was done and to which email adress my info was tranfered to?

  41. Noor

    please help me out…
    someone have hacked my id [peronal information removed]
    :'( please help me ..
    you can contact me on [personal information removed]
    if you find out my password..
    and if you need any detail so that just mail me for once i ll give you all the detail of my account
    waiting for your positive response

  42. help me

    some reason ma msn messenger, everytime i log on to it it says dat ma passsword correct but wen i log on it lets say d nxt day, it tells me ma password incorrect,like some1 has changed it or someting, so i reset it to a random password and dan it happens again and again,so ive changed ma password bout 20 times and im frustrated! ne ideas.,…tinkin it lke trojan horse at 1st but it cant b.check ma computer 6 times a day wit 3 virus programs

  43. I am forever receiving:

    KWF was unable to deliver message. Remote server’s reply:
    550 5.7.1 Requested action not taken: message refused

    Message headers follow:

    Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 18:52:30 +1200
    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: multipart/mixed;
    X-Priority: 3
    X-MSMail-Priority: Normal

    The “to” email address does not exist. Ideas please

  44. Sounds like classic virus or spam on someone else’s machine. As the article outlines, there’s not a lot you can do.

  45. sahel

    Ellow, Pleas help me in getting back my id. [Personal Information Removed] has been hacked and help me to get it back. Plzzzzzzzzz

  46. rahul

    Someone has hacked my email address and have changed my password and my personal information and my secret question… I can’t log into my own email account. Plz help me recover my password.. I need it anyhow. The id that has been hacked is
    [Personal Information Removed]

  47. Lisa

    someone has gotten into my ex boyfriends account, as well as mine… and has been sending emails and lying emails to my current boyfriend… how can i find out who is doing this. i have changed the password, as well as the ex changing his password, but the damage is done and theres nothing i can do about it now… how can i find out who did this??

  48. Aamer

    hello, someone has hacked into my hotmail account and has changed the password and my secret question and i havnt ever given out my password or secret question to anyone. please please and please could you tell me what to do :( and reply to this email address [Personal Information Removed] and the account which has been hacked into and cant log into is [Personal Information Removed] please could you try your best and tell me what to do thank you :)

  49. mae

    Is it conceivable that someone could send an email from a Yahoo account without having access to the password or computer? An email originating from Yahoo was replied to with the format “name wrote:” + the text in the body of the reply. The account owner/email sender claims he has no knowledge of it and never sent it. How could that be possible? I appreciate any information. Thanks.

  50. Asad Sohail

    Well there is one thing known as Full Headers which contains many informations that might be helpful in locating the sender. Of course you will not be able to pin point a person, but still it can tell you about the geographical location and other info depending upon the email server and headers. If you get the IP address, one can use web sites like “VisualRoute” to trace its location.

  51. Remember that when you use a IP tracing service, you are getting the location OF THE SENDER’S ISP, NOT THE SENDER. They could be in two completely different, unrelated, locations. For example all AOL senders look like they’re in Virginia (I think) because that’s where AOL is located.

  52. Arvind

    My yahoo id has been compromised and i do not remember the details which i provided while creating the account. Is there any way i can my password back.

    and if no, is there any way i can that id blocked so hacker s no more able to see the mail and files which are stored in the account.

    Please help me out

  53. Gul

    Hey Dear LEO…..
    i need ur help .. some one has hacked my id’s password and he has changed the secret question aswell … i am so worried abt it bcoz i have my impotant mails in it … the hacked id is [Personal Information Removed] .. plz plz plz and plz find out my password and kindly send it to my new mail address .. [Personal Information Removed]
    i will be so thankful to u guys ..bcoz i have the last hope from u guyz ….
    bye .. i will be waiting for ur response ..

  54. rahul

    I am Rahul From india & i have registered domain ( )changed name , last some days i am receiving this kind of mails from my Domain
    (EVEN THIS ACCOUNT IS MY AND I NEVER SENT ANY THIS TYPE OF MAIL )i don’t know how many parsons RECEIVING THIS Mail And the Attachment with virus , scaer that my site can be black listed due to this spaming THAT I NEVER DONE :(

    here the that i got

    —– Original Message —–
    From: info at mydomain dot com
    To: my add at mydomain dot com
    Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 2:49 PM

    > Dear mydomain Member,
    > Your e-mail account was used to send a huge amount of unsolicited spam
    messages during the recent week. If you could please take 5-10 minutes
    out of your online experience and confirm the attached document so you
    will not run into any future problems with the online service.
    > If you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choice but to
    cancel your membership.
    > Virtually yours,
    > The mydomain Support Team
    > +++ Attachment: No Virus found
    > +++ mydomain Antivirus –

  55. Abdallah

    Sometimes my password doesn’t work and other days it does. On the days it doesn’t work emails are deleted/added. Is there a way to find out how many times my password has been changed? I know how many times I’ve changed it so I thought if it’s more than that I would know for sure that someone is locking me out on purpose.and then allowing me back in when they take care of what they need to or want to.
    Thanks – Abdallah

  56. Leo A. Notenboom

    No, if there’s a virus, it’d be on your computer. Any problems on the Yahoo side would be temporary, and cleared up very quickly.

  57. Mick

    My Yahoo email account [Personal Information Removed] was compromised by the yahoo IM password theft scheme last week. You are correct, Yahoo customer service doesn’t help at all. I am unable to either get the profile back in my control or to have yahoo shut it down. Yahoo itself should be shut down since they seem to not demponstrate any corporate responsibility for their product or how it’s used. Hackers exploite both people and software. I fell for the people end, but there was nothing in their software that would help me or others keep their accounts safe.

  58. liquid

    Hi Rahul,

    You may know by now that the attachment to that email is the MYTOB.LP worm. No one is using your email account to send unsolicited emails. Please do not open and execute these attachments! If you get a ‘scary’ email in the future try googling a section of the text to see if its genuine or not.

  59. Alex

    I’ve got over 500 My_Doom emails within a week from: Received: from ([]
    I have complained to XTRA.CO.NZ had no repl. at all.
    What can I do??

  60. joyce

    I have noticed this for awhile when i leave my computer I clear my toolbar when i get on the next day i will look in the history and it will say aol:olm_0039 Super buddies or aol:0lm_0057mobile phone or aol:olm_0087games and I dont know where this is coming from there is no other person in my home is someone using my computer with a mobile phone or did someone get my password please let me know TY

  61. Peter

    Like hundreds, possibly thousands of others, I have had my Yahoo Account stolen through a fake Yahoo login site (please don’t think it cannot happen to you, it is becoming very common)
    Yahoo will not help you, because the thief changes the personal details, therefore you cannot answer all the security questions. -catch 22-

    I have started a Yahoo group so victims like us can get together and help each other and warn other people about this problem. I hope people will visit the web page and leave a message of support.

  62. sam

    my email address has been hack/cracked and i dunno how to get it back its got some very important things on it. can you help? Please? my email adress that you CAN contact me on is [Personal Information Removed]

  63. LaurieH

    Someone is sending out nuisance emails using my email address. I am getting swamped with return emails. I have done a trace and know the IP address where the mail is being generated. Is there any way I can have these emails from the “foreign IPP address stopped???

  64. Leo

    If it’s a single IP address, you can use tools like ARIN’s “who is” to identify the ISP that owns that IP address, and report to their abuse address. But that’s about as far as it can typically be taken.

    In all practicality, the answer is more likely, “no”.

  65. don

    I just noticed that email I send to one employee is suddenly being forwarded to another email account, usually hours after the original message was sent. How is this possible?

  66. Bev

    I cant say that someone is sending emails from my account but i can say that someone has been in my email account and has been reading my emails, because i work shifts and i know that this is happening because the emails been opened.
    How do i get the ISP numbers that have used the email account. I have changed password and have a different secret question. I have also downloaded a firewall. But i really would like to know by name who has been doing this.

  67. Pat

    Mail is ostensibly being returned to me which I did not originate. My e-mail address before the @ is both incorrect and varied. I use Outlook Express. Where segments of these messages are added to the “returned” e-mail they appear to be company sensitive. What can I do to stop this and only receive e-mails with the complete correct address.

  68. Leo A. Notenboom

    Nothing, really. The best you could do would be to try and set up a message rule to somehow immediately delete those mails. If it’s possible (I’m not 100% on OE’s rules processing) you’ll want to be VERY careful that you don’t delete something you wanted by mistake.

  69. leslie

    Someone is doing online surveys, etc and using my email addres and also giving these company’s my cell phone number. I have an idea who is doing these things but have no way of proving it. What do you suggest I do? I’ve also received a call the other day from a credit card company offering me an alternative credit card. I asked how they got my cell number since I am on a DO NOT CALL LIST & was told I had applied for a credit card online & was turned down. When I told them I did no such thing & asked to speak to management I was given the run around. I did however get one company to give me the IP address from the so called email I had sent & it’s an AOL IP, I am not with AOL or nor have I ever been. What can I do about this, where do I even start. My email is full of spame and my cell phone continually rings now with different telemarketers stating I applied for this or that or I won a trip I applied for online. HELP!

  70. Gina Roche

    I have a very serious problem. I have a protective order out on someone I know, but they have seemed to find a way around it, they are harrassing and threatening me online, on myspace to be specific. I have contacted the police to file charges and to get the harrassment to stop but they say without “proof” that it is him that they can not do anything. My question is, how do I get the isp address? I need it in order to press charges. Please help me, tis is very important. It is affect me and my young children and I feel like we are no longer safe anywhere. I need to stop him before something serious happens to us. Thank you

  71. Jesse

    Gina: In order to get the IP Address for someone harassing you on Myspace, you would have to contact the people who actually have access to the Myspace logs–i.e., the Myspace staff. Good luck–I can tell you now it is not going to happen unless you’ve got a few million dollars for legal weight behind you.

    Josh, depending on the e-mail client you use, the headers can be viewed in a number of different ways (including opening up the e-mail in a plain text editor, like Notepad for Windows users). In the case of web mail, you would have to either have a “built-in” way to view headers, or configure an e-mail client to download e-mails from the server.

    antonio: Eh? Copypasta?

    Steven: No, it’s not possible. Right now, using a very simple PHP script, I could send you an e-mail from “” if I wanted to. Naturally, I do not own the “” account, heh.

    There is good news, however. Those who -do- spoof your address can only use it for one-way communication, unless they add their OWN address as the “Reply-To” header (and if that’s the case, then it’s obviously not you, right? XD). In other words, while anyone can SEND an e-mail as anyone else, they can only RECIEVE e-mail at their own addresses.

    (Also, if it’s a very important e-mail, I do check the headers, and see if the IP address has a DNS entry that matches with the apparent sender.)

  72. aanal shah

    i hav a account in hotmail, yahoo, google talk & orkut all my ids hav got hacked i hav written it to all d help centers to please delete my account bt there is no resopnse frm their side please tell me wht should i do 2 recover my password or delete my account…please do reply

  73. Leo A. Notenboom

    Hash: SHA1

    If you don’t have access to the accounts then you likely
    cannot delete them. Contacting customer service may be
    ineffective, but it’s your only option.


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  74. John Hansen

    Hi. I hope this is not off topic. For the second time in 4 months – I have had a webhosting account suspended – they had some company in england that had a link from one of my sites and they say I’m running a phishing site. I don’t send email and although I get at least 8 phishing deals everyday – I’ve never clicked on any of them. About 8 months ago someone said another of my sites was sending spam from an older article directory I had that wasn’t being use and wasn’t even on the pages to be found.

    How do we protect our websites from this kind of stuff and if this goes on – nobody will dare rent webspace anymore – and why do the webhosts buy all this time and shut sites down – just on the word of some stranger or organization.

    Thanks – the website in question is:

    I have mccafee latest, suite 8 and spyware doctor with anti-virus and super antispyware free edition

  75. David Pearl

    I have in the last few weeks been receibg numerous failure messages of emails that I have never sent which have been returned to sender only these were not sent by me in the first palce. these mostly are in Russian alphabet characters. We also had to remove a virus which got through our file wall and anti virus software. It looks like I will need to change my email address.

  76. Jayce

    Hi , Someone is using my email address to do spam mail last week . I have changed my password and today i still receive the same spam me again. When I did a replay it replied back to my email add. What should I do?

  77. Leo

    Hash: SHA1

    “What should I do?” – Probably read the article you just
    commented on. :-) It pretty clearly explains what’s going



    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  78. Allison Milller

    someone has hacked into my account and has gotten my personal informationlike my address, phone number, and name. I deleted the account. But, now i am recieving stuff in the mail and i am expected to pay for it. What am i supposed to do?

  79. Leo

    Hash: SHA1

    Contact the authorities.



    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  80. mary

    Someone is sending very threatening emails using my email address through a website called They have not actually hacked into my email acct. but are able to disguise theirselves as me by using my email address on this webisite which sends out the emails. I am receiving messages from people telling me that they are contacting the police due to ”my” threatening emails… it’s very scarey and I don’t know how to stop it.

  81. Leo

    Hash: SHA1

    You can’t.

    If it’s serious enough I would register a complaint with
    appropriate athorities so as to be on record that it’s not
    you who’s doing the harassing. Perhaps even persue whatever
    legal action is available to stop the culprit. But the
    authorities will have to be involved for that.


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  82. Gwen

    Receiving spam emails about purchases I didn’t make. Afraid someone is using my email address. I changed my password already. I tried to delete the account but cannot.

  83. Leo

    Hash: SHA1

    You’re just getting spam, like everyone else. I’d simply
    ignore ’em and move on.


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  84. Tim Sanders

    Leo: I hope you have heard of this scam but if not here’s a new one for you. I am part of a committee that is putting on a high school reunion. The committee chair suggested I go to and look into their “reunion groups” which I did. The only link they had to reunions was a website called “” to I clicked on the website. In order to access the information for your high school, you of course had to register, which I did. As I was looking at the information that they had, I thought I could use this information for say the next 90 days to get out notices to the people on list that went to my high school. So I paid by credit card 36 bucks for 90 days. When I hit submit, not only did they take my money but they stole my entire email address book from my computer!! without a password but I was signed in of course.
    Within minutes I was receiving dozens of emails and phone calls from people livid about me giving out their email addresses, which I of course had to explain. This went on for two weeks! I wrote an angry note and told them they could keep my money (they had a no return policy anyway) and stick it where the sun didn’t shine. They still send me emails about who has been trying to contact me but I won’t open them as I am afraid that they will again steal my address book. I have changed my password. I don’t know who to pass this information on to, other than everyone on my email list. Is there a website I can report this to or do I go to the police? Got any suggestions? Thanks for your time.


  85. phyllis

    i am new at this computer stuff, but my husband and son have email accounts on our computer also, should we all change our passwords,we also have an email address for our church on this computer should we change that password also?

  86. Leo

    Hash: SHA1

    It never hurts to change your password. Just make sure to
    pick a good one.


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  87. Joy Lynn

    I keep getting email on my windows mail and it says from me but in the right click property it says (may be forge)so do i need to report this to my ISP or not to worry .I can get the ip address on them.should I turn them in?

    That’s a very common spam technique, and reporting it will do nothing. Delete it and move on with your life.


  88. christopher

    Hello Leo:
    I am hoping you can help ma and advise me what to do. It was just brought to my attention that someone has been reading all my mail. I have my MSN address on all my important documents including my resume. Anyway, I applied for a position and all went well and the Manager said he would contact me either way. So about 3 weeks went by and I called him. He was very suprised that I called b/c he stated that he wanted to hire me but the reply to address on my email which is which is not MINE! I was puzzled and thanked him and decided to email myself and in the reply to section is this address and I noticed somehow they get a copy of my outgoing as well. I just contacted MSN and haven’t heard back yet. However, I attempted to contact this Dart Brokerage which appears to be an insurance company by their website, but both my emails to the company and their employee both came back as undeliverable because their boxes were full. What the heck is this, and why? How can I remove them on the reply to? I checked all my settings and they are nowhere but they appear on all my mail???

  89. michelle

    Hi Leo,

    I am getting emails from myself! I tried looking at the “source” but I’m on outlook. I checked my email online and tried to find the sender, but not much success there. Is someone disguising as me, or is my computer actually sending out mail to me AND to others?


    The article you commented on addresses that.

    – Leo
  90. William

    I gave my x-wife my email address with hopes she would not call me anymoe and that she would send me emails instead. I was just informed that she could now use my email address to sign up for porn sites and such. Is this true and how will I be able to prove she was the one that used my email address.

    Depends on the site. Most will email you a link to confirm your signing up. Ignore that link. As long as she cannot read your email and respnd as you, you should be fine.

    – Leo
  91. Michelle

    Someone else is getting the same emails, I’m getting??? Apparently, we have the same email add… that possible??

    Nope. There must be something else going on. Hard to say without more details.

    – Leo
  92. David

    When I checked my e-mail inbox today, I found that there were about 20 “Delivery Status Notification (failure)” messages. When I opened them, they all contained the same message, and it seems they got sent to everyone in my contact list (200+ addresses).
    I checked my “sent” messages list, and there was no trace that I (or someone who might have hacked my account) had even sent the messages in the first place. The only reason I noticed that this had happened is because some of the addresses in my contact list don’t exist anymore and the emails got bounced back to me.
    I changed my password, but it seems more likely this is a virus problem. I have an up-to-date virus scanner, and it hasn’t picked any up. Any ideas?

  93. Mike

    OK – here’s a twist. Some one has been using MY email address (15 yr old account I use for filling out web forms and registrations, etc) on application forms for the last 2-3 years for things like home loans, bank accounts, Pay Pal, ebay, and even notification of service on their car. I have actually located the home address and parcel ID, phone number, and even the VIN number on their car (Same state 20 miles from me). Interestingly enough, the name on the house is my name. I determined that my email account has not been breached and no fraudlulent inquiries have been made into my personal financial accounts using MY SSN. One Bank actually confirmed today that an account that I was receiving information on, that was NOT MINE, did indeed have my email address on it. So – it could really be someone with my name just using it (why?), or trying haplessly to break my password, or something. In any case got a suggestion? Not sure if this criminal or not ??? I am getting tired of sending the emails to fraud departments though and I hesitate to communicate to this person directly.

  94. Leo [not the "Ask Leo" Leo]

    I also got some emails that supposedly were sent by me and had bounced. These emails had me as a the sender. I used an IP tracing software and found that different persons in different countries were using my email address as the sender. I traced on email to a sender in Brazil, another to a sender in Germany and another to a sender in the US!! How they managed to forge my email address as the sender is what is puzzling me. Oh yeah, the usual use of my forged email was to flog sexual enhancement products. I lost a number of lady friends because one, they were embarrassed by the spam and two, they thought I was involved with porn!! Is there any legal remedy to deal with these [edited]?

    There may technically be legal remedy (contact a lawyer or law enforcement), but in practical terms it’s not worth the cost and effort. “From: spoofing” is trivially easy to do. Those IPs you traced were probably botnet-infected machines where the owners also have no idea it’s happening.

    – Leo
  95. Dalal etoum

    i changed my password after my account was hacked 2 days ago and this morning i found out that it was hacked again;(

  96. Damz

    Someone or maybe a virus has been sending spam photographs to all the people on my contact list!! (hotmail account)
    And this happens as soon as I sign in to my account! Some CLICK-CLICK sound starts coming as if e-mails are being sent to all my friends , and I can even see the messages in the Sent folder .
    I tried changing my password several times a day but that did’nt HELP!
    I had this account for almost 7yrs now & it was extremely IMP. to me :(
    So ultimately I closed the account today , But as soon as I did that they said that your account would be available for 275 days! & if u try to sign in (which ofcourse the hacker or virus may do ) it’ll ACTIVATE again!
    Please HELP me on this matter ASAP!

  97. Volkan

    Hi,I have a different type of problem. I am using Dumeter to monitor my network activity. When I send an email through my outlook especially with attachments,I noticed that the same email was sent to another destination. I think somebody is copying whatever I send from my email through Outlook. Can you guide me how I can find the destination address of these emails? I tried to use some email tracing programs but they didn’t work out.

  98. kaleb

    hey someone type in my email address for a account and i got something about acvating it do i just delete the message because some one tyep my email in to that account that i dont want

  99. Gina

    So much like everyone else, someone used by email address to send spam to everyone on my contact list. I changed my password, but still whenever I start a new email or hit reply to reply to an email sent to me, the spam message shows up in the new message I’m typing. I erase it before I start typing, but I’d like to fix my email so it stops automatically popping up at the start of all my emails. Help!

    It sounds like your machine is infected with a virus of some sort.



    i’m a 75 yr. old senior and someone using my e-mail acct sent bad/treatening e-mails to my pastor. it got me in trouble with the whole church. the pastor beleaves i sent them. haven’t been back since. no one will listen to the virus story. my sister believed virus’ were “bug”. i was told by my physical therepest that the dumbest thing we ever did, was to call “them” virus. i agree. if i hadn;t been so upset when i was talking about virus, my sister says, why are you giving them brains?

  101. Appu

    When I checked my e-mail inbox today, I found that there were about 20 “Delivery Status Notification (failure)” messages. When I opened them, they all contained the same message, and it seems they got sent to everyone in my contact list (200+ addresses).
    I checked my “sent” messages list, and there was no trace that I (or someone who might have hacked my account) had even sent the messages in the first place. The only reason I noticed that this had happened is because some of the addresses in my contact list don’t exist anymore and the emails got bounced back to me.
    I changed my password, but it seems more likely this is a virus problem. I have an up-to-date virus scanner, and it hasn’t picked any up. Any ideas?

  102. DEBBIE

    hi..someone used my email & password to send an ‘obscene’ email to themselves..they are now taking me to court over this..i DID NOT SEND IT..i contacted my ISP they cannot help me as it was sent thru windows live do i prove this in court..they deleted it from my ‘sent’ box but not from my ‘deleted item’s this is how i found it! i am furious! i need to prove it was sent from what ever computer they used & not mine at home as they dont reside with me even..can you please help..i need to prove them wrong..police cannot help it is a civil matter not criminal i asked them…any suggestions?

    You need to talk to a tech-savvy lawyer. There may be ways to get the information (if the information you need exists at all), but I’m guessing you’ll need a court order to do so.


  103. shellbonen or was patricia dorey

    basically not only is someone using my e-mail without persmission, but some days they let me log in to just show they already opened it up and they other days my passwords is not reconized. which would be [passwords removed]

  104. Sandee

    I really need some advice. My ex-fiancee’ has been without my knowledge having all my email to 3 accounts (even the one he had no knowledge of) sent to his personal email and his work email accounts.
    Before he sends them to me! If I click “Show Original” his address(s)are right there first! How do I stop him and how (this is really important) did he even do this?
    Big Thanks

  105. charlotte

    There have been several occassions where emails have been sent from my hotmail account to each individual in my address book; AND the emails are in my sent folder. All of these emails are some type of advertisement for a product or ‘store’. This doesn’t seem to fit the example above since the email is being sent from my address to the people in my address book. Would this signify that there is a virus on my computer (my virus scan shows nothing)? Or is it being done by the advertisers in the emails. If so, is there a way to do anything about it? Thanks.

    You are correct, if the emails show up in your Sent Mail folder, this is very different: Your account has been compromised. Either someone has access to your account (change your password right away), or your PC has been compromized by a virus or spyware.


  106. dave

    i had this guy spam me fron germany and the next day i turned my pc on and i needed to reboot because it had crashed eny tips to prevent it? cheers

  107. Robert

    When I arrived at home this am,I had a e-mail from a buddy,It was bad but I never sent it.Furthmore another friend got all kinds of personal information about my kids.The only way they could have gotten this info was to be inside my computer.I am pretty computer savy and run anti-virus and check my ports But on this one I am lost.

  108. sujitha

    hai ..
    am not sent any mail to other but that person received mail from my user that from part my name is rite but mail id is not correct but in that mail id was am confused how mit possibe? pls clear it..

    Please read the article you just commented on. It talks about exactly this scenario.


  109. Frank

    Some one had hacked into my 3 email address used for Business
    Been using this one for years
    use this with my girlf.

    Can this account be reset, or destroyed as I have business information on the , and contacts on this one, and the other 2 are private.
    Please Help as I have 3 Hotmail account and all 3 were hacked.

    Not that I’m aware of.


  110. Laura Simpson

    I think someone has my email password and they have deleted some of my messgaes. Is there anyway to find out who has done this and a record of them accessing my account?

  111. JoAnn

    When I get e-mails the person sending it to me immediately gets an e-mail saying it’s from me but they know it isn’t as it contains many spelling and grammer errors. This also happens with e-mails that I get from commercial entities and then I get an e-mail that says that I can’t reply to that address. I have virus protection but this is continuing. It seems it only does it once per sender as far as I can tell.

  112. Marianne

    I receive e-mails with myself as sender advertising Viagra and other medicine – to both of my e-mail addresses. I wonder if the thieves recieve e-mails sent to me by my friends?

    Highly unlikely. Spammers are only interested in sending email.


  113. Nitin Banosd


    I have Little bit different problem. in your example virus on my PC tries to send email to the all email add in my address book.

    but in my case it does not send it to all but to my self. with the subject line “Viagra at 10% discount ” ect.

    Please help me. I also did following.
    Formated the PC and installed a new fresh OS and AV.
    changed the password of my account.

    but no use.


    That’s this article: Someone’s sending email that looks like it’s from me to my contacts, what can I do? – also please make sure to read the additional article referenced there: changing your password is not enough.


  114. Don V.

    A have a related question. I am the owner of a domain name:
    My domain is hosted by Godaddy
    I have 3 email accounts setup for my host, one of them is a catchall account.

    Today, I started receiving bounced mail in my catchall account. Upon closer observation I found that the “From” email address was a bogus

    Is there a way to prevent someone from doing this? I don’t want unauthorized users to be able to send messages using my hostname.

    Thanks for your help!

  115. Marry

    Like many Mac users, I’ve considered myself to be mostly immune from security problems. Recently, however, I *selected* a message that was directed to my Junk Mail folder (Note: I *did not* double-click on either the message or the attachment), and my hard drive immediately began grinding away. hung (spinning beach ball) and I could not switch to any other applications, switch to the Finder, force quit Mail, open the Dock, or do anything other than watch the beach ball and wonder what all the disk activity was about.

    After a minute or so, I switched off the DSL modem, lifted the keyboard (PowerBook), hit the interrupt switch and rebooted. Date and Time was only obvious thing affected, but I have no idea whether something else might be active or lurking somewhere.

    My Junk Mail box is stuffed full of messages with small attachments and cryptic headers like:
    “it’s attendee may embryonic”
    “dominant of trouble said Coakley describing the clifton”,
    ” ” (empty).

    Once in a while a legitimate message gets directed there, but I am now nervous about even *selecting* any message that I’m not 100% sure about.

    What’s up with Mail and attachments?

    Thanks for your great site!

  116. Karen

    I get e-mail in my new mail box that looks like I sent it to myself…where does that come from and why does it happen?

    That’s spam as described in the article you just commented on. Spammers do that on purpose to make it harder to block.


  117. John Bennett is a unique free solution that does not let spam into your mailbox. The principle of its work is really simple and effective: you register your email address at, then you get a link to the spam protected contact form like this and you leave this link everywhere instead of your email address: on your site, in the signature of your messages, in forums, etc. Special software called ”spam spiders” cannot harvest your email addresses from these forms, so it provides your mailbox with almost 100% protection against spam.
    Go to to see full details

  118. Concerned

    I have another question.

    What if you have an ex-boyfriend that is a computer science major and this fool can crack your new password with this anti-software protection equipment?

    When I change my passwords he seems to be able to retrieve them from remote locations, because he does not live with me.

    Futhermore my incoming e-mails can be blocked, read, or deleted by him without my knowledge.

    It is like a SPY.

    What can I do to protect myself and my incoming e-mails.

    Can he also stop or change my outgoing e-mails? Lately I have been sending copies of all outgoing e-mails to myself to ensure that I recieve them and hope that the other party shall recieve theirs as well.

    Please advise.

    Thank you.


  119. Elka

    sombody send me a letter to use my e-mail [email address removed] and send me on my primas e-mail.Now I can’t open my hotmail shows me my pasword is not correct, but I am using same pasword long time agou. Please let me know what to do? Send me answer to [email address removed].
    Thanks Elka

  120. Bob

    I received an e-mail from a friend who said he suddenly went to Ireland, had been robbed, and needed a quick cash transfer to get back to the US. Just a loan, of course. The way it was written, I figured it wasn’t my friend, but for a brief moment, I wondered if it was true. Such are the results of a stolen e-mail address.

  121. Jessica

    Hello, Leo. Recently, somebody has hacked into my hotmail account and sent the email of a simple link to all of my contacts. At first, I thought this was a mistake, but then it happened again, on March 10th, 2010. It even sent to emails that aren’t even in service anymore! Another thing that they did was send it to emails I have previously sent to, and one of them was the FOX Broadcasting email. I immediately changed my password after the second time, and I would like to know your views on this whole situation. Thanks for your time, Jessica.

    a) your account was hacked and b) changing your password is not enough.


  122. Dumbfounded

    Wow, it seems like half of you didn’t even bother to read the article above…

    Welcome to my world. Smile


  123. Lee

    Leo, I suspect that most of us did read your article. We’re all just hoping that it isn’t really true. My followup question may be outside your expertise, but is there anything that can be done by way of legal regulation? I must add though that I am also very wary of half-baked, “well-intended” reforms.

    Oh, technically I’m sure it’s already illegal in the U.S., but having laws and having the resources to enforce them are two different things. Similarly, U.S. laws don’t apply outside of the country, and a vast majority of spam originates elsewhere.


  124. Joanna

    I’ve changed my password like you said but hotmail has just send messages again without me knowing to people I don’t know, what should I do?

  125. Ray

    my australia gift site [link removed] gets so much spam emails these days i dont now what i am going to do. the emails are sent to my gmail account and i think gmail is still the best at fighting spam than hotmail or yahoo. is there a better mail service out there for fight that anybody tried?

  126. Mel

    My hotmail is sending emails to people by itself. I’m not sending them. It’s not sending it to my address book, just emails starting with the latter A so far. I havn’t opened any suspect emails. I keep getting postmaster error emails saying the address could not be found. In my sent items are all the emails that I did not send. What can I do?

    Your email account has been hacked. Read more here: Someone’s sending email that looks like it’s from me to my contacts, what can I do?


  127. Cindy

    My yahoo email account got hacked last week. I just deleted that email account and notified as many of my friends as possible to block all emails coming from that account. I didn’t want to just change the password. I thought it was time for a clean start with a new email account. I learned it is wise to change my password regularly.

  128. nitin

    Respected Leo,

    i do not want unidentified emails to my itimes account which i mention in your email address requirement suggest what should i do and how do i do this in this itimes account portal.

    Thanks for your time and attention.

  129. adma

    someone promoting viagra and other drugs in my name and using all my contacts in all my email accounts!
    they have listed a website, can i contact the hosting company or the owner of that website?
    how to stop this nightmare?

  130. Leo

    I’m closing comments on this article because the nature of the comments being posted actually relate to other articles on the site. I’ve included this above, but to reiterate:

    If email is being sent to your contacts without your having done so see Someone’s sending email that looks like it’s from me to my contacts, what can I do?

    If email you send is now automatically including an ad that reads as if you wrote it see Why do messages I compose in Hotmail now start with an ad that looks like it’s from me?

    If people you don’t know are getting email “From:” you, then the article above applies.


  131. Eleanor

    I just rec’d an e-mail using my e-mail address both to me and from me from a lady I had never heard of . There is a quite lenthy e-mail and at the end they asked me to contact Rev.. …….WITH YOUR FULL INFORMATION
    full name
    Direct contact number
    CONTACT NAME:Rev……..
    Contactphone number+23470-10.. ….
    Regards,Mrs. Olive Jane …..

    • Connie Delaney

      Good thing you read Leo and know to not reply or send anything to such an email. Just delete it and move on. It’s a very simple trick for spammers to send an email that is both to you and from you, so it’s safe to just ignore it.

  132. Chandran

    isir,in my samsung P.c with windows XPintel one problem is observed.Mu mouse pointer is not moving after opening the windows.Unless the mouse pointer movr how can i log out after opening /Once mouse pointer not moving means everything stopped &i have to close the P.c by switching Power off.3 years back this experience observed7 one mechanic advised not to renew the mouse 7he set right it withiin half an hour 7we were using all these years,now p.c is kept idle awaiting some tips &tricks &clues from some P.C experts.otherwise another mechanicmay say to change motherboard orother parts kiNDLY e MAILTO MY G MAIL ADDRESSthe tips i havetofollow to setright the P.c or tofix the problem.Thanks acn 7-8-13

  133. mehrdad

    recently I checked my email inbox and saw 5 failure notice from yahoo. When I saw my sent mail, there was some mails which were sent to many of my contact. The mails contented a webpage. when I click the webpage address, it open This mails are repeated again and again. My last use of net and yahoomail was at a coffee net. what should I do? I also changed my password immediately. would you mind helping me?

  134. Nel Vanhulle

    X-OriginalArrivalTime: 15 Sep 2013 04:17:23.0690 (UTC) FILETIME=[7A7DD4A0:01CEB1CA]
    Date: 14 Sep 2013 21:17:23 -0700
    Dag Leo,

    From where comes these mail?
    Thanks Noëlla

  135. john

    There was an email in our “read” box that looked like it was opened by one of us. Neither one of us opened it and it shouldn’t of even been there. It said it was From my wifes address and sent To her cousin. Neither know anything about it and it contains personal info. How can this happen? Thank you.

  136. john

    I just sent you a question and to add to it is this. : The Sent area reads Thursday, Octber 3,2013
    10:46:39 PM GMT -6:00 Guadalajara/ Mexico City/ Monterrey. So does this mean it was sent from Mexico? Neither party was in Mexico City. Thanks again.

  137. anna

    Hi I have a problem with an email I sent. The email I sent was actually sent to one person and CC to a second person. However I received a reply from someone else on my contact list as if they were apart of the email but the reply came only to me. They were not part of that email however.I checked my sent messages and I saw that I didnt send it them but there is that reply from them under the same email. I don’t understand how that happened. Does that mean that the person not intended to receive the email did in fact get it?

  138. David

    A friend recently had her account hacked and it sent out one of those – I’m aboard and need money emails. I opened it but did not reply.
    I am now however receiving emails in my SPAM folder saying “Hi I’m a cute sexy girl etc” but the email address is mine.
    I have changed my email password to a 20 char one and my alternative address and my questions. However I am still receiving these emails and my password hasn’t been changed or reset. Should I ignore these or is my account still compromised?
    Many thanks in advance.

  139. Brian Daed

    I had long since deduced that the computers of certain of my friends were being “hijacked.” These of course were computers that were always on and connected to the internet. The ‘hijacking occurred at such times that they would be unlikely to be at the keyboard, but in bet asleep. My own computers if at all feasible are unplugged and the batteries released when not in use. In addition, the modem is unplugged. If not feasible, then the wireless is disabled. I pick up my e-mails through an IP rather than outlook express.
    I had been getting forwarded e-mails from friends involving political issues, but any reply entered the black hole of D.C. I have an idea that the hijacker’s are not some foreign types, but real people associated with the government seeking to “turn” the American citizens for their own personal objectives. I counted two or three individuals involved. If three, then one appeared to promote the democratic party, one the replublican party, and one an unknown third party. This is a non-political profile of the observed content of the “forwarded” e-mails.

    • I’m pretty sure it wasn’t their computers that were being hacked, but rather that spam was being sent with their email address as the spoofed sender. If there was a hack at all, it sounds like it was their online account, and once again not their computer.

  140. Max

    Hi leo,

    My email provider is accusing me of “suspected outbound spam activity” from my account without giving any proof of it. I know I do not spam anyone with this account, I am also pretty sure I haven’t been hacked or compromised.
    I change the password but it doesn’t change anything, I always get these “images, codes challenges” to login. It’s very annoying.

    In my opinion, if you’re email provider challenges you on these points, he should at least give proofs of these gratuitous accusations. I asked them but of course, they ignore my request.

    What am I entitled to do and what can I do besides deleting my account and changing provider ?
    Can I legally attempt an action for false accusation ?

    • That’s a legal question I can’t answer. I would absolutely make sure your machines are COMPLETELY malware free. Most often these types of “accusations” are the result of malware on your machine that’s part of a spam-sending botnet.

      • Max

        Hi Leo,
        and thank you for your previous answer. Sorry to ask about legal matters.

        I have checked with various up to date anti virus, anti malware programs to find spam-sending botnet, but none have been found.

        Also, my email provider never answered to me when I asked for a log of all activities on my account since 15 days to check if there was any suspicious activity (of course, I am not the NSA, so they ignore my request :-)).

        My question is: How do you find out if you are victim of hacking or spam-sending botnet on your email account.
        And how technically can you find out, find the IP of the person using your email or the program doing so ?

        Trying to find out about that, I suddenly ended up on a website stating me that my IP was starting by, (a Private Ip Address Lan as you know). While, as you probably see it now, it is not at all this kind of address.

        Is it related to my issue with emails and does that mean I am victim of some hacker accessing my PC ?

        Thank you again for your help

        • Mary

          Max and others,

          Go to

          Steve Gibson has several programs and links to check out your security settings on your computer.

  141. Mary

    I keep a couple of my own email addresses in my Contacts list. If my computer gets hacked, I would get a copy of any emails sent out.

    I do know I keep getting email supposedly sent from my own email addresses.

    As I understand it is easy to spoof an email address anyway?

    If I am not sure an email is spam, I will use Print Preview in Thunderbird. HTML emails do not show up as opened when reviewed in that way.

    F8 will turn off the regular preview window and is highly recommended.

    I have caught a couple of genuine emails I actually wanted that way.

    If there are only links to other sites, audio or videos files, I will just delete.

  142. rahul


    I would just like to know how come
    there isn’t anything that can be
    done about viruses that send out

    Are these people just trying to
    bother people.

    Or are they spammers. If they are
    spammers they must be trying to
    sell something. And would have
    to be using a return address for
    people to order from.

    So if sending a virus is illegal.

    How come the police don’t go after them

    Thank You


    • Connie Delaney

      Here’s an article you will enjoy:

      Bottom line is that spammers make a lot of money, or if their intent is to destroy – they can easily satisfy that. And stuff comes from countries all over the world that may or may not have a similar legal system as yours, or even the resources to do anything about it. So bottom line is that it becomes our responsibility to protect ourselves.

  143. rahul

    Hi Leo,
    and thank you for your previous answer. Sorry to ask about legal matters.

    I have checked with various up to date anti virus, anti malware programs to find spam-sending botnet, but none have been found.

    Also, my email provider never answered to me when I asked for a log of all activities on my account since 15 days to check if there was any suspicious activity (of course, I am not the NSA, so they ignore my request :-)).

    My question is: How do you find out if you are victim of hacking or spam-sending botnet on your email account.
    And how technically can you find out, find the IP of the person using your email or the program doing so ?

    Trying to find out about that, I suddenly ended up on a website stating me that my IP was starting by, (a Private Ip Address Lan as you know). While, as you probably see it now, it is not at all this kind of address.

    Is it related to my issue with emails and does that mean I am victim of some hacker accessing my PC ?

    Thank you again for your help

  144. Elisa

    Over a month ago friends started reporting that they were getting spam e-mail from my Hotmail account. I couldn’t stop the problem so I ended up deleting my account. Just today I received 3 spam e-mails from my DELETED Hotmail account, and a number of my contacts were also listed. HELP! What can I do to stop this??

    • I’d recommend you re-read the article you just commented on. Spammers can fake the From: address and can make email look like it comes from any account – deleted or not. There’s nothing you can do.

  145. walt

    I think someone has set up forwarding email addresses from my phone and i dont recieve my email to change password and someone has recently changed i dont know how to stop this its as if i have no control and someone has linked all my info plesase help been going on for some time i think they have set up multiple email addresses how can i check to see ifsomething is linked to my address want to clean it up not sure why i have no control

    • You’ll need to login to your email account on the web and check the account settings to make sure there are no forwarders in place.

  146. Benny

    I’ve recently moved to gmail from yahoo because this kept happening to me (I haven’t closed the Yahoo address because some people still send me stuff there even though I told them not to). Its a little different to the situation you describe because emails are being sent to my contacts, not to random addresses. Yahoo records no sign in, nothing in my sent folder, and here’s the clincher – some of the emails that bounce back include the real senders IP address which turns out to be in Russia! I’ve emailed the ISP’s abuse address so who knows if they’ll do anything, (or even understand my email!), but its causing me embarrassment because my contacts are still getting spam from my old address. I can only think I must have been hacked in the past and someone downloaded my contacts (couldn’t be recently as I deleted them all).

    This scam may not be Yahoo’s fault, but I do think their security is terrible and they really don’t seem to care. It does make me think though that servers must know Yahoo isn’t in Russia, so by comparing the IP to the return address they could instantly see its fake and could even automatically report it to the ISP instead of me having to do it. What do you think?

    Can I also say I’m really impressed that you’ve answered so many of these comments. I’d suggest that you delete some of the questions where people haven’t read the article or are asking stupid questions as the discussion here is a bit too long and might put people off reading through to the end.

    • Mark Jacobs

      Unfortunately, closing the email account in question probably won’t solve the problem. The spammers already have the contact list and can continue to send out spam to those on the list and even continue to make it look as if it’s from you. The Russian IP number is the real sender of the email, and they can just make it look like it’s from Yahoo.

      As for deleting not so relevant posts, you can imagine how long a process that would be. All of the new comments come up on a queue, so nothing is lost in the haystack of comments. Commenting on the title without reading the article is the norm on the Web nowadays. Ask Leo! commenters by and large are an exception to that.

  147. kelly

    A young college kid that I know needs some help. Her email was hacked as was her facebook account and malicious and untrue emails were sent in her name. She was reapplying for a job at a camp that she had this summer and the hacker harassed the camp for the past 2 months as well as any other jobs that she has applied for via email. She is in London, camp is in US. She changed her email and again, the harasser seemed to find this out as well. She will not be able to return unless this person is identified because there is too much info that needs to travel via the internet for this to be accomplished. I will encourage her to contact facebook and her ISP, however, are there any other suggestions? Does this change because it is now international? thanks.

    • For Facebook, look for things being posted that you didn’t post. Change your password and set up the advanced security options immediately.

  148. Rachelleammer

    I think someone is using my hotmail having trouble signing into my hotmail it keeps,saying it is incorrect password ,but it is the right passsword?

  149. ron

    About 3 weeks or so ago, our desktop used by my wife had a virus, detected by Microsoft security essentials and we deleted it as they advised right away. Since then she has been receiving on her email address only, returned mail from unknown people and places. We use windows live mail, windows7, roadrunner ISP and seems emails returned are from everywhere. I use block for emails and notify RR its spam. Is there anything I should do short of stopping using her address and using another address like gmail.

    • Mark Jacobs

      Sounds to me like the malware sent her email address to the hackers and they are now sending spam using her email address. Unfortunately, there’s probably nothing else you can do about this other than stop using the account.

  150. tawman

    i need help! someone has found out my facebook password and is post innaproppiate things now many people saw this and now thinkgs im weird and dirty and they wont believe the truth,my father is the most dissapointed i cant handle looking at his dissapointed face how do i either delete my account or just find out the way of getting rid of this

  151. Jill

    Dear Leo,
    My email is also spoofed. But since I read your article, I am not going to repeat the other million questions that you already answered in your article. READ IT PEOPLE. THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO.

    However, I want to thank you. For a while, I thought that I had some kind of email virus, and have done everything I know how to do to clean my computer–even though it started during a period of time that I wasn’t even logged on to my computer.

    Anyway, it is good to know that it is not my fault, I have nothing to do with it, and I can let it go.
    I just wish I could figure out how to set up a rule to delete the tens of emails I get every day, without the possibility of losing a legitimate bounce back email. I will continue to try and figure it out. The problem is that I get so many, that I am losing sight of actual emails I need to respond to, as they are buried amidst that garbage.

    Thanks again for the article. Good luck to us all.
    p.s., not that I could find them anyway, but the header info.–on the few that include the original email in the bounce back–have very little info., accept to show a fake name in the “from” field. But if you want to find out Oprah’s secret, let me know. :)

  152. Dennis

    I have several ways to stay out of spammers firing lines

    buy a domain and every site you sign up at create a email address just for them ex here —

    this way if I get emails NOT from say Leo direct – then I redirect the email address back to where it will stay

    on the address I created —> <—

    in 7 years I have had less spam than I did with hotmail and gmail together when I let my isp address out

    which is bad

    if you need more info just ask

    {links removed}

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