I have an an email account, lets say info@notmyrealdomain.com. It's receiving lots of spam so I want to set up a different account and use that, let say contact@notmyrealdomain.com.

I want to use an auto responder to inform anyone that writes to the old email address that the account is not being checked and ideally give them the new address to write to.

Is that a stupid idea? Obviously the auto responder will also respond to the spam giving out the new address. Will the spammer robots pick up on that response and use the address? Would it help to put the address as contact(at)notmyrealdomain.com.

Any other ideas on how to smoothly switch addresses?


I understand this e-mail address is mentioned in various printed materials.

Well... at some point you'll probably replace it with your new e-mail address and the whole thing starts over again. Mentioning your new e-mail address in a reply will only speed that process up.

So changing your address will work for a couple of weeks
(maybe even years depending how careful you are with giving out your new e-mail address).

Maybe it's better you (also) look into fighting the spam. Do you have a spam filter on your server? (Spamassassin or similar?)

Another option is looking into implementing Greylisting. It cut my spam with 99%. There are downsides to greylisting but for me there are more upsides. Basically greylisting is denying the mail for 5 minutes or so and if the mailserver presents the mail again after 5 minutes it is accepted. Properly configured mailserver will always present the mail again a number of times before giving the sender a warning. Together with GeoIP-filtering (denying mail from countries i don't want mail from), i hardly get any spam at all. (Setting it all up does require some expertise though)

If you don't have control over your mail-server ask your provider what the possibilities are. Maybe they have spamfilter services. There are also specialized spamfilter-providers. Your mail will first go through their servers and they filter out the spam after which they drop the remaining mail in your mailbox.


I think that an auto-responder is not a good idea. Generally replying to spam simply confirm that the address exist and is active, so you are playing their game by doing so.

I would manually give the new email address to the people that are supposed to know it.

If you use the BCC feature you can write a single mail and send it safely and privately to everyone that needs to be warned, chances are that all those relevant contacts are already on your address book, so after all is shouldn't be a very demanding task.

During the first times, you can also consider to check the old mailbox from time to time, so if you forget to warn someone in the first batch and they still write to your old address, you will be aware of that and can give them the new one.

  • The address is for an organisation that has published it online and in various printed materials for many years. Informing the change of address to a list of current contacts doesn't solve the problem entirely. For example someone might have an old leaflet and write to the old address that is printed on it. – ElwoodP Dec 17 '13 at 0:18

It honestly can't hurt. I mean at the very least you weed out the less complex of the bots that are spamming you. A better way could even be to have them call you to request the new email address. The bots are ballsy but they aren't that ballsy. Honestly if someone needs to reach you and it's that important calling shouldn't be a huge inconvenience (for them). What think you must do before switching is contact everyone you can and inform them of the switch. Since you're sure none of them are bots it's safe to assume they won't be spamming you any time soon. Be sure to check your old mail box semi-frequently as most people are particularly suborn when it comes to change and may not pick up on it.

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