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Q: Tracking source of webmail e-mails sent by hateful ex ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Tracking source of webmail e-mails sent by hateful ex
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: maggiemae6-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 18 Jun 2004 15:20 PDT
Expires: 18 Jul 2004 15:20 PDT
Question ID: 363160
My husband's ex is on the warpath...we've had to get a restraining
order against her (no phone calls or physical proximity to us) after 3
years of harrassment. Suddenly, we're getting a barrage of e-mails
sent via webmail (fortunately these are quarantined w/ an e-mail guard
service from our ISP) with topics all related to things she has
accused us of:  porn stuff & drugs.
She's probably using free e-mail service(s). Sometimes the e-mail
address will even have our name(s) as the sender.  Help!
Subject: Re: Tracking source of webmail e-mails sent by hateful ex
Answered By: missy-ga on 18 Jun 2004 18:22 PDT
Hello maggiemae!

I'm sorry you're having to deal with such a nusiance.  Let's see if we
can help, OK?

First, understand that online services are prohibited from
offering contact information for their users, except under very
strictly limited circumstances - typically, such information is
released only to law enforcement agencies, and only with a court
order.  If you really want this to stop, you're going to have to get
the local police involved at some point, but before you do that,
you'll need to arm yourself with some information.

First, you need to determine where the mail is originating from.  To
get started, open up your e-mail client and turn on full headers.  If
you don't already know how to turn your full headers on, you can get
step by step instructions - just choose your mail client from the list

How do I get my email program to reveal the full, unmodified email?

Still with me?  Good!

Next, register for a free spam reporting/header reading account at
Julian Haight's SpamCop:


You can use this service to report spam and have abuse reports filed
on your behalf, or just to trace headers to send your own abuse
notifications.  Basic spam reporting/header tracing is free.  For your
purposes, you're just going to use the header tracing.

Once you're signed up and confirmed, copy and paste the full
headers from one of the offending e-mails into the box, click submit,
and you'll be shown a line by line breakdown of where the e-mail has
come from, concluding with an abuse address.

You won't be given the sender's identity, but you will be given her
ISP's abuse department contact information, to which you can forward a
copy of the offending e-mail (with full headers) and request that they
their user.  (They won't confirm her identity without a court order -
the privacy clauses in most Terms of Service prohibit the sharing of
such information - but they will usually cut off her account.)  

Additionally, print out copies of *all* of the mail she has sent you
(with the full headers turned on!), copies of the header tracings, and
copies of the letters you send to her ISP's abuse department, and file
a report with your local police department.  You'll also want to check
the terms of your restraining order, and return to court if necessary
to have her prohibited from contacting you electronically if she isn't

Keep copies of *everything*.  You may need to file several abuse
reports with her ISP and several police reports, it's easiest if you
have all of your documentation in one place.

For a quick visual explanation of how to read e-mail headers, have a
look at the great visual explanation given by MaximumPC magazine in
January, 2003: 

You can also learn about headers in a more detailed fashion here:

Reading Email Headers  

If you have difficulties deciphering your headers, please just ask for
clarification.  I'll be glad to help you untangle them.

Wishing you the best of luck,


Search terms:  none.  Personal knowledge.
Subject: Re: Tracking source of webmail e-mails sent by hateful ex
From: crythias-ga on 18 Jun 2004 16:42 PDT
You'll need to have the headers of the email to track where this might
actually originate.

Local law enforcement can help. 

On the other hand, your husband's ex might actually have a virus.
Either way, the headers will tell where it's coming from, but law
enforcement is the best bet to assist you.

I am not a Google Answers Researcher.

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