Spammers Using Your E-mail Address?

A site visitor was curious and pondered:

I am receiving “Returned emails” that I never sent to begin with, yet it has my email address on it. Some of it seems like it has references to porn junk on it. I have contacted my ISP, no response yet from them. My worry is that it seems someone has hijacked my email address and is sending spurious porn mails out to people I have never heard of and I will get the blame for it…! How to I track these thugs down, or stop this process. My business runs on this email address and I don’t want to have to change it, whose to say it can’t happen again.

What has most likely happened is someone you have emailed in the past has a virus that has farmed all the email addresses it can find on their system and is now sending out email with those addresses in the From: field. Their computer is now a “zombie” for the virus or worm.

You may not hear from your ISP when you email them as there really is not much they can do. What you want to do is to make sure you rare not infected with a virus and scan your computer immediately.

Don’t worry about being blamed. It is pretty much common knowledge that spammers and virus creators are the culprits when this kind of thing happens. And the adult email is most likely a farce that the virus is generating to just be a trouble maker. For those who know how to read email headers they can very easily decide the email did not originate from your account and/or ISP.

There are sites like SpamCop.net where you can input the entire email and headers and they track down the responsible parties if possible and report them to their ISP. However, if it is virus generated, there are no “thugs” to track down.

It probably will happen again and is part of the current online landscape. As long as there are knuckleheads out there who do not protect themselves from viruses and hackers, there will be those waiting to exploit them.

I can understand your frustration… I really wouldn’t worry about it — I am so exposed online that I see my email address on all kinds of things that didn’t come from me and I’ve decided to choose my battles wisely. HTH!

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