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How is it possible to have an empty FROM, TO fields in an email?

By godzillex ·
This is becoming a real enigma! I received an email notification from American Express, but there was something VERY strange about it.
There were no FROM, TO, COPY information anywhere in their message; yet, it was delivered to me without a hitch!

I would just LOVE to be able to send emails with all of these fields empty. (I'm thinking along the privacy lines here.)

Any help on how this task may be accomplished would be greatly appreciated.

To that end, I've turned on my email client's "full header" switch in order to see more details; and this is what shows up:

-----------------------------------------------
Return-Path: <sppim503@welcome.aexp.com>
X-Flags: 1012
Delivered-To: GYX delivery to jo!!hn!!zuiy!!@gyx.net
Received: (qmail invoked by alias); 05 Feb 2006 04:45:43 -0000
Received: from welcome.aexp.com (EHLO sppim501.ipc.us.aexp.com) [193.32.34.30] by mx0.gyx.net (mx056) with SMTP; 05 Feb 2006 09:05:09 +0100
Received: (from uucp@localhost) by sppim501.ipc.us.aexp.com (8.14.2/8.14.2) id m15854Hj004622 for <jo!!hn!!zuiy!!@gyx.net>; Tue, 5 Feb 2006 01:05:04 -0700 (MST)
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2006 11:35:34 -0700 (MST)
Received: from sppim503.ipc.us.aexp.com(148.173.242.182) by sppim501.welcome.aexp.com via csmap (V6.0) id srerFARAaEOC; Tue, 5 Feb 06 01:05:04 -0700
TO:jo!!hn!!zuiy!!@gyx.net
REPLY-TO:"American Express"<alerts@service.americanexpress.com>
FROM:"American Express"<AmericanExpress@email2.americanexpress.com>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Subject:General Notification
Comm-I UYUOT035R23R2TT423423434988274
X-Template-Id: ARNEEALE00053E1
Message-Source: ENG-ALERTS
Message-I <HEALT05656363673636363625379.ARNEEALE0005001.ENG-ALERTS@welcome.aexp.com>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;boundary="0__=987987987E56C1C08f9e8a93df938690**8c0988**237939C1C0"

... Body of the message follows ...
-----------------------------------------------

Thanks.

godzillex

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Have you tried the bcc field?

by DNichols In reply to How is it possible to hav ...

Putting the receipents name (or the distribution list) in the BCC field and leaving the TO field blank will hide the names in a message you are sending...

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Yes, but the all the fields are empty!

by godzillex In reply to Have you tried the bcc fi ...

Hi,

Yes, but in this case all of the following fields (FROM, TO, COPY, BCC, SUBJECT) are empty.
Imagine receiving an email with nothing showing up in those fields - complete blank!

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I receive them like that.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Yes, but the all the fiel ...

I consider them spam and delete them unopened. I suggest you do the same, and remember others may do this to mail you send with a similar lack of header information. You may consider it a way to protect your privacy, but it guarantees a lot of unread messages. I'm not opening anything if I can't tell who it's from first.

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Yep!

by godzillex In reply to I receive them like that.

Hi Palmetto,

Yes, fortunately my email client has a "text only" view capability; thus preventing transfer of any critical info back to the senders. In fact, that is how I was able to determine the authenticity of the original email from American Express. By the way, they are not saying how they're sending these emails either -- they just bounce my inquiries back and forth between different departments! LOL...

Thanks.

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Just a thought...

by cmiller5400 In reply to How is it possible to hav ...

But you may want to edit out your e-mail address so that spam bot's don't harvest it...

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and your IP address

by robo_dev In reply to Just a thought...
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Thanks

by godzillex In reply to Just a thought...

Thanks guys. I made even more changes to the header info :-)

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If the email server and client you're sending from allows it...

by robo_dev In reply to How is it possible to hav ...

you can spoof the headers to your heart's content.

The email client and email server that you are using sometimes will not allow you to spoof headers easily, but there are
programs that do it automagically:
http://www.softstack.com/emlpriv.html

you can also just telnet into a SMTP server and send spoofed email that way:
http://www.datastronghold.com/security-articles/general-security-articles/how-to-spoof-an-email-without-software.html

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Aha !

by godzillex In reply to If the email server and c ...

That is VERY interesting. I scanned the full header section in my original message a bit more carefully, and saw a reference to the old uucp method of sending messages (from uucp@localhost).

Perhaps this is what American Express is using instead of telnet. (LOL, it might be time to look into dinosaur uucp once again!)

BTW, thank you very much for both of your links. I will look into them in more detail.

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