Returned undelivered mail that I never sent? Is it a bug or virus?

I am being bombarded with emails addressed from internet mail delivery,
postmaster, mail administrator, mailer-daemon, mail delivery system etc.
The subject being undelivered emails, delivery notification, mail system error,
etc. Ihavnt sent any of these emails in the first place.
Is it a bug or a virus?
I am currently receiving these emails at the rate of 100-200 per day.
What can i do to stop them?
Anyone can help?
Thanks in advance.
Who is Participating?
>> I want to create a rule in Outlook Express for certain adresses like this one for example: <>
I want to block all mails coming from MAILER-DAEMON. How do I do it? >>

Seriousnick has provided you with a link to set up the rule.  But the domain will vary if you get thousands of return emails from ISPs.  Usually after a few days, the spam attack subsides, and the number of return mail that you get subsides.
Greetings, Johnkobb !

Someone could have got your email address off the internet and is spoofing it by sending spam with your address in the From field.  If this is the case, you cannot do anything about it.  Wait it out.

A trojan could be sending emails from your computer. Check for virus and adware. Use one of these online scans.

Housecall Online Scan
Panda Activescan
Kaspersky Virus Scan

Run these antispyware and trojan scans.

Spy Sweeper

3. If still no joy, download HijackThis

Run the program and you will find many entries. Most are OK. Post the log at and click Analyse, Save.  Post a link to the saved list here.

Best wishes!
JohnkobbAuthor Commented:
Thank you War1.
Thanks for your extremely quick reply.
I will use the sugested  online scans when I get up.
It's 5am now. Time to have a little sleep :-)
I will let you know if it helped.
Best regards,
Johnny from Downunder.
The Lifecycle Approach to Managing Security Policy

Managing application connectivity and security policies can be achieved more effectively when following a framework that automates repeatable processes and ensures that the right activities are performed in the right order.

I really doubt this is a virus issue.  When this happens the sending application rarely uses your email address.  They do this intentionally so that you don't get tipped of that something is wrong.  Most of this problem is for-profit as these "botnets" as they are called are "rented" out for to send SPAM by their operators.

The most likely situation is that someone sent out a wave of SPAM using your return email address.  So when any of these bounce you get the debris.  Not much you can do here.  If the problem persists (and it may) you might have to change your email address.
I Agree with jhance :)
A quick examination of the mail headers will quickly reveal whether or not these messages originated at your system.
Nick DennyCommented:
Yes - most likely a hijacked mail return address.

Happened to me a while back with one of my "rarely-used" address's  (return address was or similar).

Fortunately my mail host has a "nospam" mail address so I forwarded all prefix's except my actual name, to the nospam address.

However, if the return address is the one you actually do receive mail on, then there is little you can do but sit it out.

It may just be a one off - if not - then you're stuffed and either set up rules for receiving, dumping the trash, (you may accidentally dump a genuine undeliverable tho) or as suggested, get a new adress.
> What can i do to stop them?
short answer: nothing
long answer: install a spam filter in your MUA
very long and exhaustive answer: I agree with jhance
if you want to spend your time you can examine the mail headers and try to find out if some of thes mails are cause by a mistyped adress from you, or if one of the MTAs you use had a problem with delivery. But most likely such investigations end somewhere in nirvana ...

A couple of good articles:

Understanding E-mail Spoofing

Spoofed/Forged Email

Dushan De SilvaTechnology ArchitectCommented:
Scan your email server for any Virus issues.

BR Dushan
There is really nothing that you can do right now , except change your email address.

If your are a person that never gives your email to anyone but the necessary people even then there is no way that you can avoid the SPAM. I spend almost 1 year researching and testing both software solutions and appliances that claim to be over 90 % effective in protection against SPAM and none of them works as I want.

Most likely the reason for your problem is not even your fault. This is as simple as sending and email to one of your supplier, that suppiers computer gets infected with a mass mailing virus and your are history.

As an Network Admin I had to change a lot of email addresess because of this.
We now use a conbination of  Mcaffe SpamKiller , Exchange Groupshield, GFI MailSecurity with good but not perfect result

I know this is not an answer but to let you now that you are not alone.
Good Luck!!!

As said by war1

Your Mails ID`s are being spoofed and sent. Nothing much can be dont to stop it.

We have not heard from you in awhile. Did any comment help you solve your problem? Do you have any more question? If an Expert helped you, please accept his/her answer above with an excellent or good grade.

Thanks, war1
JohnkobbAuthor Commented:
Hi everybody.
Thank you guys for your answers and I appologise for my late reply. I'm very busy with my new business.
Thanks War1. I used all your suggested programs and scanned my computer - no viruses found.
Dushan911  - how do I scan Mail Server for any Virus issues? I haven'd done it before. I don't know how to scan a server. Can I access a sever on the net where is my web site hosted?
Changing my email address is out of question because I use it for my business.
I can't believe that nothing can be done.
The amount of returned mails is not slowing down. Still getting tons of them. Maybe there is a bug on my computer?
I never spam because I know how annoying and bad it is, but some bastards out there make our lives miserable.
I use two email programs.
Eudora for my private mail and Microsoft Outlook Express for my business. I have no problem using Eudora, no returned emails like in my Outlook Express. Is this because Outlook Express is Microsoft product and easily targeted?
I want to create a rule in Outlook Express for certain adresses like this one for example: <>
I want to block all mails coming from MAILER-DAEMON. How do I do it?
Thank you again for your help.

Dushan De SilvaTechnology ArchitectCommented:
It should done by Email server Administrator. If your not the person, then you can ask from him (or your email ISP)

BR Dushan
Nick DennyCommented:
-->"I use two email programs.
Eudora for my private mail and Microsoft Outlook Express for my business. I have no problem using Eudora, no returned emails like in my Outlook Express. Is this because Outlook Express is Microsoft product and easily targeted?,"<--

No - this is because the email address that has been hijacked is the one you are using in Outlook.
In Eudora, no doubt you have a different address which at the moment is safe....

For creating rules - have a look here:

However, some mailer-daemon messages could be of genuine interest.

Rules in OE dont block, but sort. e.g. you could divert all emails with a certain criteria to "deleted" or something like that.
Rules are applied once you have either "received" or "sent" the message - not while on the server.

An option you have is to download only the headers - i.e. to see whats on the mail server before you actually download from it.
Or if possible - use web mail....
Although both these would still be time consuming if you're getting 1000's.
> I can't believe that nothing can be done.
and what do you expect should be done?

As said multiple times before: install a spam filter in your email program, change email address, catch the person who send the unsolicited and tell him to stop it, if you can ...

Try this, it's free:

ChoiceMail Free 3.1
- Excellent editor's rating, very good user rating.

Or this, also free:

ZAPaSPAM for Outlook Express w/Parental Control 2.2
- Good user rating.

Good luck!

JohnkobbAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your help.
I scanned my computer with various software and cleaned it a bit.
It seems that the returned emails are slowing down. Not as many arriving in my email box.
I hope that they will stop eventually.
Best regards,
John K.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.