How can I stop spam from my Google Apps account?
September 18, 2012 4:03 AM   Subscribe

What can I do about spam ostensibly being sent from my Google Apps-hosted domain?

I use Google Apps to host my email accounts for [myfirstname][mysurname]

After a trouble-free existence for almost ten years, I have started receiving enormous amounts of "unable to deliver" emails in reply to emails ostensibly sent from my domain. These are typically addressed to [randomstring]@[myfirstname][mysurname]
  1. Obviously I don 't want to contribute to spam generally
  2. More particularly I don't want anybody to think I have spammed them
  3. I'm getting so many Undeliverable emails in my spam folder I can't possibly wade through them all to ensure legitimate emails aren't being incorrectly filtered.
What can I do? (Can I do anything?) All Google suggests is individually reporting all such replies as spam. I'm getting around 300 emails a day - that's just not practical. Nor is changing my domain, as my business trades under my name.

(The irony, of course, is that I use a variety of other email accounts at different domains for all my personal email, signing up for online accounts, etc. Those accounts don't have any problems like this, whilst my pure 'work' account is being bombarded.)
posted by puffmoike to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've had the same problem some years ago and sadly there seems to be very little you can do about it.

Spammers simply pick a domain and spoof the headers, so it is completely outside your control.
You can set everything that is sent to an address which is not one of your designated user addresses to head to a single in box and then do blanket spam marking from there, but it's not a great solution.

Google will authenticate outgoing emails so that mail servers know the difference between something you genuinely sent and something that spammers sent, so your legitimate emails shouldn't get spam blocked. Also, eventually the spammers will stop using it, as it becomes less effective at penetrating spam filters, but until then I'm not sure there is much you can do.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:27 AM on September 18, 2012

Best answer: Do you have DKIM and SPF enabled? Records in DNS?
posted by devnull at 4:28 AM on September 18, 2012

Best answer: This has happened to me too. My host says the spammers don't actually have access and they are actually spoofs posing as 'unable to deliver'.

It's made worse by having a catch all address so one step i took was to setup a separate catch all email address, and auto forward the cleared mail to my main account. Then at least I don't see it.
posted by molloy at 4:29 AM on September 18, 2012

Best answer: It's called a "Joe job" and there isn't anything you can do about it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:43 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks to all the replies so far. Sounds like it's something I can't really hope to stop, but some good ideas here for trying to limit the problems.

Do you have DKIM and SPF enabled? Records in DNS?

No. Hadn't heard of these terms before. I have just had a poke around, but it all looks a bit intimidating. The language Google uses in the help files doesn't match particularly nicely with what I can see on my domain host's dashboard. It all looks a bit technical for noob like myself to deal with without very explicit step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately my mate who set up the hosting for me is on holiday at the moment. I will follow up with him on his return.
posted by puffmoike at 5:01 AM on September 18, 2012

Response by poster: Have setup a separate catchall address as suggested. Will follow up on DKIM and SPF stuff when my more computer literate friend returns.

Thanks MeFites!
posted by puffmoike at 5:09 AM on September 18, 2012

Google "joe job spam". Unfortunately, there's your answer. You can't stop random spammers from choosing your domain name to spoof because they like it.
posted by thewalrus at 5:09 AM on September 18, 2012

SPF essentially tells the Internet what mail servers are authorized to send mail in your name. So you authorize and as authorized senders. Any mail from your address coming from some other sender is automatically dropped into a black hole by any SPF enable server. It doesn't get delivered and you don't see the bounce. Setting it up wrong can cause mail to not get delivered, but if you have Cpanel as your hosting dashboard it is pretty straight forward. Just enable SPF, add the gmail domain that your mail goes through, your domain name, and any other server that you may use to send mail from your address.
posted by COD at 5:15 AM on September 18, 2012

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