In particular, if your contacts are getting mail from you that claims that you’re stranded in some foreign country and need money, your email account has almost certainly been compromised.You want Someone’s stolen my email account and is scamming my contacts for money, what do I do?
, then your email account has probably been compromised.
See Someone’s sending email that looks like it’s from me to my contacts, what can I do?
In his address book are entries for his friends, Paul and Mary.
Paul and Mary have never met, have never exchanged email, and do not know each other – they each just know Peter.
So let’s say you’re perusing an online dating site, looking at profiles. While profiles without pictures are increasingly rare, they do still exist.
One catches your eye - this person has many of the same, uncommon interests you do, and seems funny and engaging. There’s just one problem: they don’t have a profile picture. There are many legitimate reasons to not want your picture out on the internet, including sensitive job matters.
Viruses have also been known to use other sources of email addresses or even forward them around as the virus spreads.
What that means is that the simple “friend of a friend” example that I used with Peter, Paul, and Mary, while simple and certainly possible, is not the only way that your email could show up as a forged “From” line.
And also remember that your “common sense” alarm should be on at all times - whether a profile raises a red flag or not.
Employing a little common sense can help guide you smoothly through even the strangest of profiles.
That could be other email addresses that it’s sending to, email addresses fed to it by a botnet, or perhaps even the addresses in the address book of the infected machine.