What are fake emails and spoofing?

Last updated: January 12, 2018

Email Spoofing is where emails are sent using a forged ‘From’ address to make it look like the email came from a different address. This does not require access to someone’s email account.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Email Spoofing include a large number of ‘Non-delivery Emails’ entering your inbox sporadically. These are emails that have been sent from another email address, but because the emails have had the ‘From’ address forged to look like your email address, any emails that have failed to be delivered will be delivered to your inbox.

This is quite common because the vast majority of ‘spoof’ emails are known to be spam by most email platforms, meaning most if not all mails will never be delivered to the intended recipient and will instead generate a ‘Non-delivery report’.

What can I do?

Due to Email Spoofing originating off the Virgin Media network and not requiring access to your Virgin Media email account in order to ‘spoof’ it; we are unfortunately unable to stop these incidents from occurring. It is worth noting however that the vast majority of these emails will never be delivered to anyone as they’ll be recognised by spam filters and blocked accordingly.

As a precaution, you should change your email address’ password using the advice listed at virginmedia.com/strongpassword. Also, you should run a number of security checks which include anti-virus scans and checking for forwarding rules you don’t recognise.

A full list of steps to follow are listed at virginmedia.com/emailsecurityadvice

If you’ve gone through all the steps listed above then it is likely your account is not compromised and instead your email address is being spoofed.

What’s the difference between being hacked and spoofed?

When your email account is hacked or compromised, it means an unauthorised 3rd party has access to your email account. This indicates they’ve obtained the password for your email account, usually through malware being installed on a device you own or perhaps because you entered your details into a fraudulent phishing email.

Compromised accounts can be re-secured by following the steps detailed at virginmedia.com/emailsecurityadvice

If you have run all the steps detailed then it is likely your account is not compromised and instead your email address is being spoofed. Email Spoofing does not require access to your email account, it is simply a 3rd party sending an email but changing the ‘From’ address to make it look like it came from you.

If my account is not compromised, why are the emails being sent to my contacts?

It is possible that your email account was compromised in the past and the spammers took a list of all your contacts or people’s you’ve emailed previously. This will then allow them to send spoofed emails that look like they’ve come from you to your contacts – when in actual fact the email never came from your address at all.

Unfortunately, once the spammers have access to your contacts, it is not possible to stop them from sending spoofed emails to them.

There are also other ways that spammers can obtain details of the people you email, such as noting down email addresses listed in public mailing lists, or listing all the email addresses another email address they’ve compromised has as a contact.

Will deleting my email account stop Email Spoofing?

Unfortunately not. As email spoofing does not require access to your email account in order to make it look like emails have come from your address, the spoofed emails will continue to be sent even if your email address no longer exists



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