I have begun receiving a bunch of unwanted email of my gmail-account.

It is not spam: most of it personal mails (birthday invitations etc.) or the usual "funny emails" some people forward to all their friends. All of it is meant for [email protected] (which is not me), but it is apparently being forwarded to [email protected]. The headers sometimes contains To: [email protected], but it is also often just To: <undisclosed-recipients>, but from context I can see that it is for [email protected].

I have sent emails to [email protected], [email protected] and Road Runner customer-service, but abuse directs me to customer-service, customer-service claims it is the user that has set up a bad forward, and the user claims that there is no forward on his address.

I was finally just asked to set up a filter that deleted all mails to "[email protected]", but first of all, I don't feel this is something that should be resolved at my end and secondly it doesn't handle the many messages that have undisclosed recipients.

The user gets a lot of email and it of course passes right through my spam-filter, so it gets really annoying.

Do any one know the best way to escalate this? Road Runner is of course quite uninterested in my problem since I am not a customer of theirs.

Here are two sample mail-headers (one with disclosed recipient, one with undisclosed) in case that can clear something up:

Delivered-To: [email protected]
Received: by with SMTP id f9cs58570anc;
        Wed, 2 Sep 2009 16:35:56 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with SMTP id y25mr11938757vci.67.1251934555791;
        Wed, 02 Sep 2009 16:35:55 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <[email protected]>
Received: from cdptpa-imtalb.mail.rr.com (cdptpa-imtalb.mail.rr.com [])
        by mx.google.com with ESMTP id 2si660988vws.53.2009.;
        Wed, 02 Sep 2009 16:35:55 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: softfail (google.com: domain of transitioning [email protected] does not designate as permitted sender) client-ip=;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=softfail (google.com: domain of transitioning [email protected] does not designate as permitted sender) [email protected]
Received: from cdptpa-mxlb.mail.rr.com ([])
          by cdptpa-imta04.mail.rr.com with ESMTP
          id <[email protected]>
          for <[email protected]>; Wed, 2 Sep 2009 23:35:55 +0000
Return-Path: <[email protected]>
X-Cloudmark-Score: 0
X-Authority-Analysis: v=1.0 c=1 a=WW68/717mJ/IxFGJVaUluQ==:17 a=uDSnT5Gsb0Uvxgln8bIA:9 a=P6rNy0mZG7YvdLfcDMA1IqDA5ssA:4 a=RAiJgP8TVDc-xrh9QLcA:9 a=eUfj4FIBVQpWJGLMHPsA:7 a=5kGOJcZrrlWJM8P1TogWmHkH84cA:4
Received: from [] ([] helo=fed1rmmtao107.cox.net)
    by cdptpa-iedge05.mail.rr.com (envelope-from <[email protected]>)
    (ecelerity r()) with ESMTP
    id 66/8B-21364-A510F9A4; Wed, 02 Sep 2009 23:35:54 +0000
Received: from fed1rmimpo03.cox.net ([])
          by fed1rmmtao107.cox.net
          (InterMail vM. 201-2244-105-20090324) with ESMTP
          id <20090902233553.XWHJ21470.fed1rmmtao107.cox.net@fed1rmimpo03.cox.net>
          for <[email protected]>; Wed, 2 Sep 2009 19:35:53 -0400
Received: from GiniPC ([])
    by fed1rmimpo03.cox.net with bizsmtp
    id bzbs1c0092Q4CF004zbsrK; Wed, 02 Sep 2009 19:35:52 -0400
X-VR-Score: -100.00
X-Authority-Analysis: v=1.0 c=1 a=uDSnT5Gsb0Uvxgln8bIA:9
 a=SySS9F5WOmxjBnLKSjJdsnV6racA:4 a=RAiJgP8TVDc-xrh9QLcA:9
 a=eUfj4FIBVQpWJGLMHPsA:7 a=5kGOJcZrrlWJM8P1TogWmHkH84cA:4
X-CM-Score: 0.00
Message-ID: <9593F3769C6D44CF9EA0F4BA17F79FD5@GiniPC>
From: "Sender" <[email protected]>
To: "Not my name" <[email protected]>
Subject: Gini's b-day party this Saturday
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 16:35:51 -0700
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Windows Mail 6.0.6001.18000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.0.6001.18049


Delivered-To: [email protected]
Received: by with SMTP id f9cs78745anc;
        Thu, 10 Sep 2009 03:30:10 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with SMTP id b28mr1166529vcm.35.1252578609560;
        Thu, 10 Sep 2009 03:30:09 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <[email protected]>
Received: from cdptpa-omtalb.mail.rr.com (cdptpa-omtalb.mail.rr.com [])
        by mx.google.com with ESMTP id 41si2006694vws.136.2009.;
        Thu, 10 Sep 2009 03:30:09 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of [email protected] designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of [email protected] designates as permitted sender) [email protected]
Received: from home ([]) by cdptpa-omta03.mail.rr.com with SMTP
          id <[email protected]>;
          Thu, 10 Sep 2009 10:29:57 +0000
Message-ID: <DC802D49ADEB4ACAAEE6DF35223157C5@home>
From: "Sender" <[email protected]>
Cc: "Sender" <[email protected]>
To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2009 03:29:54 -0700
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2900.5843
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2900.5579
  • 1
    What would happen if you'd bounce the emails back to the initial sender?
    – alex
    Sep 10, 2009 at 11:32
  • @Arjan: Should be there now. Sep 10, 2009 at 12:29
  • That new example seems perfect to forward to Gmail customer support, and tell them that rr.com does not want to stop the forwarding. Ask them to contact abuse@rr for you?
    – Arjan
    Sep 10, 2009 at 12:34
  • Do Gmail have a customer support email-address? I can't seem to find any way to contact them... Sep 10, 2009 at 12:42
  • Valid point :-) I added something about filtering on Received, just in case you cannot solve it otherwise...
    – Arjan
    Sep 10, 2009 at 13:08

6 Answers 6


If the emails are 'quite personal' as you mentioned in one of the comments, you have a chance of of making the actual recipient care about your problem.

Start sending him comments/suggestions about the email contents

Hey xxx

This birthday party sounds like fun. You should go! You could give him the shaver you bought off amazon last night as a present! Oh, and wear the green tie that Laura likes."

p.s. Can I come too? I did get an invite!

Shouldn't take him long to solve your problem from his end.


Two options, I guess:

Await a very personal message and force the original recipient to act on that. If no response, send that message (including all its headers) to Gmail customer support? If rr.com is threatened to be blacklisted by Gmail then maybe they'll finally act... (But, you raised a valid question: does Gmail have some customer support department...?)

Or: filter on the header Received containing from cdptpa-omtalb.mail.rr.com. Hopefully they do not have too many mail servers. And hopefully that will not block mail from rr.com subscribers addressed to you.

I don't know if Gmail allows for such filter. But if you are using Mac OS X Mail, then you first need to add the Received header to the list of selectable headers:

  • Add a new Rule in Mail
  • At the bottom of the list of available options choose "Edit header list"
  • Click "+" to add a header named "Received"

(Non-default headers that are not used in any Rule will disappear after some time.)

For the archives: note that Gmail is known for silently not delivering emails that are sent from a Gmail account and have the same account as the final recipient. So, when sing Gmail to send a message to an address that is (copy-) forwarded to your own Gmail account, then you will not see that copy in Gmail. To ensure forwarding is indeed used: send a message from a non-Gmail account.

  • Ah, reading all comments I guess it is a copy-forward (rather than a redirect)? Please let us know if that could indeed be the case.
    – Arjan
    Sep 10, 2009 at 12:12
  • It is a copy-forward. I get copies of emails sent to the address, and "[email protected]" receives them too (and replies). Sep 10, 2009 at 12:21

I look at the part where you say "and the user claims that there is no forward on his address".
This implies that the user already knows of this problem and is not interested.
You can therefore safely discard these mails.

Since you use gmail this can be done with filters to send the mail for deletion.

Unsolicited mails reaching your gmail address are actually something to be solved at your end.

  • He gets relatively many messages addressed to "Undisclosed-Recipient", so there is really no simple filter to setup (at least that I can think of). The email I included coincidentally had a sender that was also on the san.rr.com domain, but that is not consistent. Sep 10, 2009 at 11:41

Subscribe him to a bunch of mailing lists. You of course will be able to confirm the subscription, since you will get a copy of the confirmation email.

You decide which mailing lists.


filter undisclosed recipients:

to:(!com !org !net)
  • You just blocked half of the world's email users. Dec 19, 2011 at 8:27
  • 1
    No, it is "to" and the "to" means yourself email address, if you have no other none com/org/net email address or mail list, you could use the upper incoming mail filter rule.
    – diyism
    Dec 21, 2011 at 3:47

If all these emails come through mail.rr.com, (which you could tell from the headers) then it IS roadrunner's problem, (even if it is the users fault) so you may need to be more forceful with them.

If the emails are being forwarded by him and you have requested him to stop sending you emails and he either refuses or does not know how to stop, then it can be considered as Unsolicited email and you are entitled to expect his mail server administrators to take steps to stop it, even if it means disabling his email account, or giving him a new email address.

If they refuse to act, then you need to take it up with their ISP, who also should stop it.

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