I have received a few emails recently that seem like spam but they are asking about open source projects I've worked on and gmail didn't flag them as spam.

When I email or reply to an email does privacy related data get sent with my email? I've looked at the headers and there's a lot of information in there.

Regarding the red flags, the email doesn't match the name, spelling errors, the questions make no sense.

3 Answers 3


Your outbound emails won't contain much personal information, but there are some things to be aware of:

  • Replying confirms to a spammer that your address is active, so you'll get significantly more spam
  • Email services often append your display name, which may be your real name, like John Smith <[email protected]>
  • The recipient is able to see every email server the email passed through, and may be able to discern your approximate region when using cloud services like gmail.
  • If you're using a corporate email template or signature, then you are basically providing a spammer with your company's letterhead.

Don't reply to obvious spam, and the same goes for auto-replies to untrusted addresses.




If you are forwarding your email (or using a catchall), there is a chance that replying will expose some headers that would be super-useful to spammers/scammers.

e.g. X-Resolved-to: and X-Delivered-to:

Whether or not that reveals privacy information will depend on your use case (e.g. you forward mail to mailbox@[YOUR REAL NAME].com or [FIRST].[LAST].[YEAR OF BIRTH]@gmail.com).


As others said the outbound messages won't include much personal data but:

  • Responding verifies your email's activity to a spammer, thereby increasing your volume of spam considerably. Best not to reply.
  • Your name might be exposed
  • Your company signature could be revealed which might include sensitive data
  • 1
    Hi, this site is not run like a forum, so each answer is expected to be unique. And none of this is. Jun 11 at 1:11
  • Fair enough! Will try improve answer in future
    – user32668
    Jun 12 at 11:42

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