‘Mail de­liv­ery fail­ure’ emails likely a scam


I’m hav­ing email prob­lems. Sev­eral times a day I get “mail de­liv­ery fail­ure” no­tices for emails I never sent. I also get emails in for­eign lan­guages that I can’t read. Some of these emails don’t con­tain any mes­sage, or the at­tach­ments don’t make any sense.

Is some­one using my email ad­dress to send mes­sages to other peo­ple? What should I do?

It’s pos­si­ble some­one has gained ac­cess to your email ac­count and is send­ing mes­sages in your name. But it’s more likely these are bo­gus emails from dis­rep­utable sources. Even the “mail de­liv­ery fail­ure” emails are prob­a­bly fake.

There are three things you should do im­me­di­ately: Change your email pass­word to lock out any­one who might be using the ac­count. Stop open­ing sus­pi­cious emails and at­tach­ments. Run the free ver­sion of the Mal­ware­bytes pro­gram in case the emails have in­stalled any ma­li­cious soft­ware on your com­puter.

If any­one is using your email ac­count, the goal would be to send junk or ma­li­cious emails to others using your name. The best de­fense against that is to cre­ate a strong new email pass­word that would be hard for any­one else to guess.

It’s com­mon for un­scrupu­lous peo­ple to send fake emails de­signed to at­tract at­ten­tion. The senders hope cu­rios­ity will prompt you to open an email or at­tach­ment, or to re­spond be­cause you think it was sent by mis­take.

If an email seems fake, don’t open it. Ei­ther delete it or send it to your email provider’s “spam” or “junk” folder (that may help the provider block sim­i­lar mes­sages in the future).

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