I have been told that I am sending out lots of spam emails but I am not .....

They have my name on them and they look like they came from me


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Email Backscatter



The term "backscatter" is used to describe a side-effect of email spam, viruses and worms where the spam email triggers a bounced message off of a legitimate server.


This server sends the reply back to the sender identified in the sender field. However, the sender field is usually forged, and innocent bystanders get backscatter email.


If you get emails that come from the administrator or postmaster that state an email you sent was blocked or could not be delivered, providing you never sent it (intentionally or via Malware) then it is likely backscatter.


If someone steals your identity it is conceivable to get thousands of bounce failures in your inbox making checking your email a daunting task.


Whilst you can make an email rule remove most of these from your inbox, some types of bounce emails do not contain a subject or body and rules can't read them, hence the email remains in your inbox.


What can you do ?


Ride it out. There is no one to call, no one Internet provider to help. You can't do anything at your server and there is no way to prevent this. It should stop occurring a few days after it started. It might never happen again. If it becomes painfully obvious it is not going to stop, you need to think about changing your email address.



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To keep up to date you can refer to my blog


If you are viewing this page then these specific other pages in this series might be of interest to you:

  • Tools to remove Malware and Viruses
  • Tools to remove Malware etc but still under review by me
  • A page dedicated to helping you get the information needed to remove Malware
  • Spybot installation steps
  • How to perform an online Housecall Virus scan
  • What is Malware ?
  • Why are people using my email address?
  • How did someone steal my Email address?
  • Why is my email being blocked ?
  • How can I reduce spam ?
  • Why did I get infected ?
  • How to Handle Spam!
  • Why do I get all these bounce backs to my email address ?
  • What is a Drive-By Malware attack ?








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                                                                 This page was written and designed by Michael Jenkin 2011 ©