I keep getting emails from my own email address, and the subject lines are always really lurid. Has someone hacked into my account? What should I do?
The good news is no one has hacked into your account. What you’re experiencing is called “Form spoofing,” and it’s a favorite tool in the spam artillery.
Form-spoofing is annoying, but it’s not dangerous. It’s the sender entering your name and address into the From field in their mail program instead of their own. Outlook, for one, makes this a snap. During the setup process, when asked to enter one’s own email address, spammers choose this option.
Since the name of the game for spammers is hiding their tracks and making sure you receive their mail, from-spoofing is natural. By putting your address in the From field, they obscure the true sender and nearly guarantee that your spam filter won’t block their email.
To prevent such emails from reaching you, take these steps:
1. Set up a filter. You can create a special rule to automatically route anything sent from your email address to the Trash folder. You’ll still see emails sent by you in your Sent folder, and if you have intentionally added yourself as a recipient, you can always dig that piece of mail out of the trash.
2. Verify. You can also set up a sender verification tool that asks every new sender to verify that they are a real person before the mail reaches you. (From then on, everything from that address is processed as legitimate and sent directly to you.)3. Take caution. Simply receiving these emails does not put you at risk, but just like any email from an unknown source, you should think twice before clicking on any links.
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