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Common Display Names and Spam

Monday, November 15th, 2004 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help
 
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Q:
I got an email and the sender name was “Steve” so I eagerly opened it up to find it was s spam. I’ve been a subscriber long enough to know that you would never send me anything other than the newsletters I subscribed to, so, is someone forging your name?

A:
First off, we never, ever, ever give (or sell) the addresses of our readers to anyone—so, no, that s spam did not come from us. We also never send attachments, so don’t open anything from a “Steve” with an attachment (unless there is another Steve in your life that you were expecting it from).

A common tactic of s spammers s is to use a common display name like Steve, Dave, or Bill. Everyone knows somebody by that name, so you are more likely to open it. Even though the name might say just “Steve”, there are several ways to find out who really sent an email.

Some email services will show the display name and the address in <brackets>

image

But Outlook Express just shows the display name. If you right click the name of the sender and choose “Properties”, you can find the email address of the sender, when it was sent, and the size of the message.

image

Click on the “Details” tab and you can even find the name and IP address of the server that sent the email (This info is needed if you are reporting a l spammer).

I wouldn’t recommend this, but another way to get the real address is to open the email and double click the sender’s name. This will bring up a window with the name and address of the sender.

image

The reason I don’t recommend this is because you’ll end up seeing the unwanted message or releasing any possible viruses.

There’s not a whole lot you can do with this info, but at least knowing how to look clears up the confusion of why your cousin “John” sent you that nasty email with the nekkid girls on it.

~David

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