If I keep getting a delivery failure notice for email I have not sent, does this mean my email has been hacked?

terri cape April 11, 2013
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I keep getting the following notice in my Yahoo! Mail:

From MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.com
To [my email address here]

Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.
Mail server for “peopleworks.com” unreachable for too long.

The thing i, I did not email this address or ANY address in the last couple of days. I have received these in the past, but in my Hotmail account. The supposed address that is undeliverable is different each time.

I’m wondering if this means my email has been “hacked” or if it’s a phishing scam of some kind? Parts of it appear to be a link, which I did not click on. Just wondering if I have a problem…?

  1. Junil Maharjan
    April 12, 2013 at 6:15 am

    either you have been hacked or it is a spam message for scamming.

  2. Oron Joffe
    April 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Terri, no. This is probably _backscatter_ (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backscatter), which is the response to spam which was sent in your name (but not necessarily by you). As macwitty points out, it is trivially easy to pretend to be someone else in an email. All you need to do is alter the "From:" line, which most email programs will let you do!

  3. Bruce Epper
    April 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I would first suspect it is a phishing attempt. A delivery failure message should NEVER have a link in it. Sometimes it will contain an attachment (the original message that bounced). You can always look at the full headers (Actions - View full header in Yahoo! Mail web interface) and check the From: field as well as the originating SMTP server to see if everything looks kosher. In most cases the domain portion of the sender's email address will match the initial SMTP server domain. In the case of a delivery failure message, it is originating from the server itself. Because of that, I have never seen one where the domains in the From address and the SMTP server do not match. You can also verify that sending account domain really exists by doing an nslookup for its MX record.

  4. macwitty
    April 11, 2013 at 10:45 am

    No, you can send email with whatever sender address you want. Spamers use it very often - sometimes they set the same address as receiver ans sender - why it looks as you have sent it to yourself

  5. Tina Sieber
    April 11, 2013 at 10:43 am


    I'm afraid this very much sounds like your email has been hacked. I recommend changing your email password immediately. Use a safe and unique password that you do not use anywhere else. It's OK to write it down on a piece of paper at home.

    Also update your Yahoo! Mail security question and update your alternative email address and mobile phone number, in case you need to recover the account in the future.

    5 Steps You Should Take NOW To Make Your Email & Social Media Accounts Recoverable