Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

The consequences of forwarding suspicious emails

An acquaintance recently asked me if I had blocked her email address. I was puzzled. She said she received a message from my email service that said her message was blocked. When we talked this through, I began to understand what must have happened.

Two suspicious emails had landed in her inbox that day. I had told her to not trust certain types of emails. If she was unsure, she could ask me about them.

In this case, she forwarded one of the emails to me. Suspicions confirmed. My email service must have recognized the links in the email as leading to a phishing site. Her email service clearly did not.

Lesson learned: Forward a spam email that slipped through your filters to somebody else, and that person’s spam filters may pick up the problem.

It might be a good idea for email service providers to offer “rejection” messages in plain language. Those might prevent misunderstandings like the one I mentioned here. Or maybe email service providers could take other measures in situations like this.

Are there better ways to handle spam? If you have any ideas, let me know in the comments below.

  1. Hi Luigi,
    I’m pretty good at recognizing suspicious emails and my email server picks up a lot of spam so I don’t even see it.
    However, I am now having emails forwarded from an “info@…” account and I want to cancel many of these. My fear is that I can’t unsubscribe from them because I’m not the account holder. This is especially true for a domain registration that has expired. So I figure I’ll just mark those ones as “spam” and hope they stop coming.
    Do you or your readers have any other suggestions on how to handle these?

    • Hi Christine – I’d need more detail on what you’re talking about before I could guess at how to handle this. We could take this discussion offline, perhaps talk this weekend or next week. Let me know.