Help! A spammer hijacked my e-mail address

A common question we get from readers goes like this:


“Help! A spammer hijacked my e-mail address and sends spam as me. What should I do?”


If you receive spam that appears to come from your own e-mail address, it is probably the result of the spammer forging the From: line or other parts of an e-mail message.


To help avoid spam in your e-mail inbox, you should:

·          Use an e-mail program that includes filtering technology, and

·          Follow some basic guidelines about posting your e-mail address on the Web.

Use e-mail programs that include filtering technology

Microsoft SmartScreen is spam-filtering technology that comes with all Microsoft e-mail programs, including:

·          Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

·          Windows Live Hotmail

·          Windows Live Mail  

·          Windows Mail


Sender ID is a technology that helps verify that e-mail messages come from who they say they come from. Messages that have been authenticated by Sender ID are unlikely to be spam. Messages that fail Sender ID are more likely to be spam.

If you use the following e-mail programs, you already use Sender ID:

·          MSN Hotmail

·          Windows Live Hotmail

·          Microsoft Exchange Server

·          Microsoft Office Live Mail


If you see a Sender ID “failure”, it probably means the e-mail From address has been spoofed, and that the e-mail message is probably spam.  

For more information, read Sender ID helps keep e-mail honest.

Be careful where you post your e-mail address

Spammers often use powerful technology to collect e-mail addresses off the Internet. They send spam to these addresses, and spoof them to look like the return address on the spam they send.  


You can minimize the chance that they’ll collect your e-mail address with the following strategies:


·          Only share your primary e-mail address with people you know.

·          Avoid listing your e-mail address in large Internet directories and job-posting Web sites.

·          Don’t post your e-mail address on your own Web site (unless you disguise it as described below).

·          Consider using a free e-mail service such as Windows Live Hotmail to help keep your primary e-mail address private. When you get too much spam there, simply drop the address for a new one.

·          Disguise your e-mail address when you post it to a newsgroup, chat room, bulletin board, or other public Web page. For example, you can write out the “@” symbol, like this: SairajUdin AT example DOT com. This way, a person can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use often cannot.


For more information, read Help keep spam out of your inbox.








About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    Please help fix my email address,there is a UK lottery something in front of my address. Thanks

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