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Spam and Virus messages

© May 2004 Tony Lawrence

I must explain this twenty times a month, so I'm putting it here in hopes of cutting down on the effort:

Messages from other servers

You get messages from AOL or other servers stating that your message to xyz@xyz.com had a virus. You never sent any such message, and have never heard of xyz@xyz.com

That's because your email address has either been harvested from a website or newsgroup posting, or because someone who has your address in THEIR address book has been infected by a virus. Either way, spam and/or a virus has been sent to xyz@xyz.com and it has been FORGED to appear to come from you. When AOL or whoever intercepts this, either as spam or as a virus, they THINK it came from you and send you email complaining. You can block these by appropriate rules in Outlook etc. but you cannot stop them from coming.

Messages from your Mail Server

You get a message from the Mail server saying that xyz@xyz.com tried to send you mail but it was blocked because of a virus. THIS MIGHT BE LEGITIMATE EMAIL. That's why you are told about it, because the server has no way of knowing that you want or don't want this mail. All it knows is that the email had a virus, and it wants you to know that. If xyz@xyz.com IS someone you are expecting mail from, you at least know that it was blocked for this reason (and can be retrieved through the admin manager if necessary).

You generally do NOT want to make rules to block this notification because you would never know if important email failed to reach you because of a virus.

Notice the difference here: one is complaining about a message you seem to have sent (but didn't) and the other is warning you about a message someone sent you. These are not the same thing at all, and have entirely different causes.

See also Things you may not know about email.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Spam and Virus messages

Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take Control of IOS 11

Take Control of iCloud

Take Control of Automating Your Mac

Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Apple Mail, Third Edition

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