Why Am I Receiving Email Bounce Back Messages?

Are you receiving emails where the subject says, “Undeliverable...” and it looks as if you sent an email to someone that has “bounced back,” don’t be alarmed. Your account is not hacked. Most likely, this is result of email spoofing. Email spoofing is a common problem for us all. 

Email spoofing is when a spammer’s true identity is hidden by forging the From, Return-Path, and Reply-To email identifiers. The spammers are using your address as the “reply to” but spamming from another account. Spammers and phishers gather email addresses, including your UChicago email address, in various ways. Most often this information is harvested from public websites using scripts and compiled for later use.

There is not much you can do to prevent spammers from spoofing your email address. So when you receive these bounce-back messages, know you are not singled out as a target, neither are the other recipients on the bogus email. For peace of mind, change your CNetID password, and check your Sent folder for the forged email. Be aware that a spammer may send, and then delete the forged email. Creating, an email filter for these messages might be useful too. You can create a filter to delete these messages but consider moving them to a separate folder that you can periodically check – you may occasionally receive a bounce message for an email that you actually sent (i.e. your recipient’s address no longer exists).

If you have evidence that your account is hacked, change your CNetID password, and then contact IT Services Security at security@uchicago.edu or call 773-702-2378.

For additional information on bounce-back messages read, Is My Email Account Hacked? I Didn't Send That Message!