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Old 18 Jan 2022, 02:21 AM   #1
nlol
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Permanent Error

Myself, and one other person I know of, get a Permanent Error reply when we reply to an an email that contains "Dave Johnson <davxxx[email protected]>"as a cc in the original email to which we reply. The message says "

Delivery to the following recipients failed permanently:

* cynxxx[email protected]

Reason: Permanent Error


As you can see, the faulty email address is not contained in the original incoming email nor the outgoing email reply. The email in my address book, and email shown in the original sender's address book is as expected. This is a constantly/consistently repeating error involving emails only when Dave Johnson is a recipient. No one involved in any of these emails has any recollection or knowledge of any cynthialynne.

My concern is, "How could this occur?" and, of course "It appears possible to unknowingly send emails to unknown address, which if 'good', we'd have no awareness of - no even if we monitored our email headers." Such a security breach seems unlikely, but otherwise we have no understanding of what is happening nor how to prevent it, and would like advice on the matter.

This from the email header that produced the permanent error message:


Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 17:30:23 +0000 (UTC)
From: James Itsasecret <recxxx[email protected]>
To: Ralph Johnson <johxxx[email protected]>,
Matthew Johnson <mj8xxx[email protected]>,
"George T. Johnson" <gtjxxx[email protected]>,
Davey Neil <johxxx[email protected]>,
Grace Wood <bluxxx[email protected]>,
Dave Johnson <davxxx[email protected]>
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
In-Reply-To: <[email protected]>


Thanks

Last edited by CyberSmurf : 27 Jan 2022 at 01:49 PM. Reason: posting addresses for other people on-line
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Old 18 Jan 2022, 06:51 AM   #2
xyzzy
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Do you really want to post all those email addresses in a public forum? Or are all those already fake just for the sake of posting to illustrate what you are seeing?
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Old 18 Jan 2022, 11:30 AM   #3
jarland
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MXRoute.com
Maybe they're forwarding email to that Gmail account and it's failing?
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Old 19 Jan 2022, 05:41 AM   #4
nlol
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Maybe, but ... well, they say not, and I expect seeing something in the email header to indicate the forward. and I see no such thing. I'll double check though. Also, I'm used to IMAP, perhaps POP3 (are there any others) works that way.

Thanks
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Old 25 Jan 2022, 03:28 AM   #5
nlol
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Bump - Problem still occurring. Can anyone explain what notice an original sender receives if an email is sent to a good address that then forwards the email to a bad - heck good and bad to thoroughly cover the subject - address in both POP3 and IMAP systems?
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Old 26 Jan 2022, 03:42 AM   #6
JeremyNicoll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nlol View Post
Bump - Problem still occurring. Can anyone explain what notice an original sender receives ...
I wouldn't expect the sender to get any notification. The receiving system has accepted the mail which is all that the sending SMTP server cares about.

That the receiving system chose to do something with the mail is not the business of the sender.
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Old 26 Jan 2022, 07:38 PM   #7
TenFour
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Have you tried sending a query directly to cynxxx[email protected]? It will probably bounce, but worth knowing. After you do that, check the error code against the Gmail list of codes: https://support.google.com/a/answer/3726730

Another thing to do if you don't know this person is to Google Cynthia Lynne and see if you can figure out who she is and how she might be connected to the group you are emailing. It's amazing how often you can find someone with just a Google search.

I see this same type of behavior regularly when I email a particular group of contacts. I get the error message back for an address I did not originally send the message to. I have been assuming that it is an old, non-working forwarding address that someone in the group is using.

Last edited by CyberSmurf : 28 Jan 2022 at 04:00 PM. Reason: obfuscate the address (again)
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Old 26 Jan 2022, 07:44 PM   #8
CyberSmurf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzzy View Post
Do you really want to post all those email addresses in a public forum? Or are all those already fake just for the sake of posting to illustrate what you are seeing?
I have obfuscated the addresses in the original post.
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Old 9 Feb 2022, 09:01 AM   #9
nlol
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JeremyNicoll - that's the way I too expected it to work. However, I and several people I know get the 'cynthia' error message as I've described.

TenFour: Yes, I've googled the name. Got some hits - nothing that seems relevant. As to your idea to send an email directly to the bad address. Interesting thought - I'll do that and look for anything interesting.

I wonder if there's a list/index to no longer used email addresses - was it ever any good?
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Old 10 Feb 2022, 04:35 PM   #10
janusz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nlol View Post
I wonder if there's a list/index to no longer used email addresses
There isn't
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Old 10 Feb 2022, 08:04 PM   #11
TenFour
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Originally Posted by janusz View Post
There isn't
I imagine that Google has quite a few billion dead email addresses they have retired for one reason or another, and another few billion that nobody ever checks. I guess storage must be cheap enough that Google feels it is OK to keep all those addresses open that do nothing but act as spam vaults for many people. That's one reason I wonder about all this supposed "tracking" they do and how effective it is. I wonder what the percentage is of actually used Gmail addresses vs. convenience addresses only created for collecting junk?
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Old 10 Feb 2022, 10:22 PM   #12
janusz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
I imagine that Google has quite a few billion dead email addresses they have retired for one reason or another, and another few billion that nobody ever checks
This is true for any email provider, as for any domain the number of local parts is practically infinite.
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Old 11 Feb 2022, 03:00 AM   #13
n5bb
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Arrow Delivery failure messages are sent to the original FROM sender

I disagree with earlier posters. When email is auto-forwarded, the original sender will receive a delivery error message if the destination server refuses the message. I just tested this as follows:
  • I set up an auto-forwarding rule at a Fastmail account. This could have been at any email service which supports automatic forwarding.
  • The forwarding rule targeted a non-existing gmail address.
  • Now when I send test messages to the test account (from any email system — I tried using my Yahoo account), the forwarding to gmail fails and the delivery failure message is sent to the original sender. This message comes from the system which is attempting the transfer which fails (in this example, the failure message is sent by the Fastmail system to my Yahoo account).
This is the standard way that email operates. If you look at the full headers of received messages, you will see that a typical email message is forwarded through many different servers. If any of those transfers fails, the failure message is sent to the email address in the “FROM” header.

So all that is happening is that someone has set their email account up to auto-forward to a different address, and the final destination address is no longer accepting messages. There might even be several levels of redirection, just as the typical email delivery system uses. It makes no difference that the redirection is set up by an email end user — any failure to transfer the message to the destination results in a service message to the sender in the FROM header (added by the original email sender).

It would be good to inform that person that their forwarding is failing. They might not know this is happening.

Bill
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Old 11 Feb 2022, 09:32 PM   #14
JeremyNicoll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
I disagree with earlier posters. When email is auto-forwarded, the original sender will receive a delivery error message if the destination server refuses the message. I just tested this ...
So... is this forwarding being done by the SMTP server then? I suppose that would make sense if it knows it's not planning to retain the mail.


Quote:
Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
It would be good to inform that person that their forwarding is failing. They might not know this is happening.
How can anyone do that if one cannot send an email to either the original address or the presumed forwarding address?
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Old 11 Feb 2022, 09:39 PM   #15
janusz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyNicoll View Post
How can anyone do that if one cannot send an email to either the original address or the presumed forwarding address?
It's perfectly doable if the email to/from the failing address is NOT the only means of communication.
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