DSL Extreme
Where are you? Support > Knowledge Base > Email and Newsgroups > Why do I get emails that aren't addressed to me?
 

Why do I get emails that aren't addressed to me?  

Why do I get emails that aren’t addressed to me?
 
E-mails have envelopes, just like real letters. You never see the envelope because your mail program (Outlook, Eudora or whatever) puts it on for you automatically when you send, and takes it off for you automatically before putting things in your Inbox. A real-world junk-mail might have your name on the envelope, but when you open it, it's just a photocopied sheet that says "Dear Winner!". Email works the same way.
When you write an email, you write a bunch of text in a big window:
 
Hi Marcie,
Are you feeling better? I will visit you this weekend.
Is there anything I can get you?
Regards,
Fred.
You also type in a recipient and a subject, which get added onto the top of your message:
To: [email protected]
Subject: Oopsy
Hi Marcie,
Are you feeling better? I will visit you at the weekend.
Is there anything I can get you?
Regards,
Fred.
Your mail program adds some other lines, including "From", "Date" and "X-Mailer" (which simply says what mail program you're using):
Date: 08 Jan 2002 13:00:40 +0000
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Oopsy
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.7 [en-gb] (Win98; U)
Hi Marcie,
Are you feeling better? I will visit you at the weekend. Is there anything I can get you?
Regards,
Fred.
 
There will be others, but they're the most common. Then you hit the 'Send' button, and your mail program has a little conversation with your ISP's mail server:
 
Your computer - Knock knock!
The mail server - Hi! I'm mail.mailservername.com. I can speak ESMTP.
Your Computer -(automatically speaks ESMTP) Hi! I'm fredscomputer.
The mail server - Hello fredscomputer, pleased to meet you
Your computer - I've got some mail from [email protected]
The mail server - OK.
Your computer - It's to [email protected]
The mail server - OK.
Your computer - I'm about to send the message.
The mail server - Go for it. Tell me when you're done.
Your computer –
Date: 08 Jan 2002 13:00:40 +0000
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Oopsy
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.7 [en-gb] (Win98; U)
Hi Marcie,
Are you feeling better? I will visit you at the weekend. Is there anything I can get you?
Regards,
Fred.
DONE!!!
The mail server - That's fine; I'll send it along for you.
Your computer - Bye-bye
The mail server - Bye-bye
 
See how the actual addresses of the sender and the recipient are actually sent before the message? That's where the email 'envelope' starts. It has to be this way so that (for example) you can send an email to someone and send your lawyers a copy, without the original recipient knowing. Proper (non-spam) mailing lists work the same way. Each message to the list might have 2,000 recipients, but you don't want to tell each one who all the others are.
Spammers just get their software to say slightly different things in the conversation:
 
Your computer - I've got some mail from [email protected]
The mail server - OK.
Your computer - It's to victim1, victim2, victim3, ... victim4897
The mail server - OK.
Your computer - I'm about to send the message
The mail server - Go for it. Tell me when you're done.
Your computer –
Date: 08 Jan 2002 13:00:40 +0000
From: [email protected]
To: Lucky WINNERS!!!
Subject: YOU ARE A WINNER!!!
You're already a winner! Just click here... ...spammy rubbish ...
DONE!!!
The mail server - That's fine; I'll send it along for you.
Your computer - Bye-bye
The mail server - Bye-bye




 

Search our Knowledge Base

Do the links above not match what problem you're trying to solve or question you might have? With over 600 articles and growing our Knowledge Base most likely has what you're looking for.

Enter a Search Term: Or do an Advanced Search
 

Don't want to search? Go to our Knowledge Base directly

Send an Email to a Representative

Sales & Information

Have some pre-sales questions about our packages or features?

Billing Department

Have a question about your bill or upgrading your package?

Technical Support

Having problems with your Connection? Or setting up your email?

    
  I want to thank the person that helped me. They were great and I learned 2 new things about my email.  
 

From Talia S.
 
t
  • @wasi_r @DSL Extreme Thanks for the awesome service. I am loving it. Also thanks to @leolaporte and @TWiT
  • @jank0 Wanted to thank @DSL Extreme