Identity Theft via email

Have you been getting any “returned to sender” email from addresses that you don’t recognize?  Usually, when this happens and you recognize the email (but don’t remember sending anything), you have a virus.  However, if you don’t recognize the address, your email has probably been used by someone to spam.  How is this possible, you ask.  The same way putting your physical address on bulk postal mail.  The difference is that the post office disposes of bulk mail that is not deliverable.  The email system routes non-deliverable email back to whoever “sent” it.  Though we do NOT recommend it, you can send email from any address, known or made up (which may still turn out to be viable) by changing your email settings.  If this happens to you, we suggest double checking to be sure you don’t have a virus first and then (if no virus):

  1. Contact your server and explain what seems to be happening.  Some servers could care less, but many would want to know because it may effect how their domain (the last part of your address after the @) is seen – and filtered/rejected – by other servers.  This can effect how your normal email is delivered.

  2. If you wish to keep your address, follow the instructions provided in Volume 2, Number 4 to set message rules to filter anything with the same subject line(s) as the bogus returned email.  This helps you sort “good” and “bad” email quickly.

  3. If you feel it is necessary, ask to change addresses.

  4. Email everyone you feel is important and explain what has happened.

  5. If you have a website that you post your email, make sure it is hidden such as a link that reads email me rather then the address typed out.

  6. If you have a website, you may want to post to it what has happened.  We added a notice page for this and other types of announcements.

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