Today I started receiving emails addressed to a completely different Gmail address from mine. They are legitimate emails from Facebook and Microsoft about new accounts being set up, confirmation numbers, etc. They are not phishing and all links in the emails are legitimate.

It's not possible that both Microsoft and Facebook accidentally BCCd me on some random person's new account confirmation emails, nor is it possible that the addressee is responsible.

Gmail customer service is non existent, but this really appears to be Google routing someone's emails to the wrong mailbox, which is exceedingly concerning. What to do?

  • I know you don’t want to reveal the email address — yours or these weird “other” emails — but is it possible there are similarities in mail usernames between your email address and theirs? When you check the full headers for these messages do you see any similarities between your email address and this other person? There is a slightly chance that whoever should receive these emails somehow are forwarding them to you in some way. Mar 2 at 17:59
  • The things you say aren't possible are actually possible. The first is extremely improbable to the point of being virtually impossible, and the second while uncommon is extremely plausible. I provided an answer and in your place I would be looking at the headers for clues.
    – Blindspots
    Mar 2 at 18:28
  • @Glacomo no, the email addresses are completely different; no resemblance. I think your suggestion might actually be correct though, when looking at the complete headers, it appears that the recipient might have set up his Gmail account to forward to my address. Not sure what to do about it though.
    – Nate
    Mar 3 at 5:19

1 Answer 1


Based on the header info you provided,

X-Forwarded-To: [myemail]@gmail.com 
X-Forwarded-For: [originalrecipient]@gmail.com
Delivered-To: [originalrecipient]@gmail.com

it is most likely that someone accidentally added your Gmail address as a forwarding address to their account. I concede that this is at odds with your conviction that you have never received, let alone confirmed, a verification email to enable this.

Forwarding must be shut off from the forwarder's side. It cannot be done from the recipient's side.

  1. You can try to email them at [originalrecipient]@gmail.com (or track them down) and ask them to correct the error
  2. You can create a Gmail filter to manage these messages as they come in using "deliveredto:[originalrecipient]@gmail.com" as your search criteria

Email Headers

To determine who the email was sent to and from in Gmail you need to look at the email's full headers which are the underlying information typically hidden from view.

  1. Open the email you want to check the headers for
  2. Next to Reply, click More and then Show original
  3. Copy the text on the page
  4. Open the Message header tool
  5. In "Paste email header here," paste your header.
  6. Click Analyze the header above.

Gmail Help: Trace an email with its full headers

  • Great tip about the header! Based on the full header, I can tell that the emails are legitimately from Facebook and Microsoft, and it appears that the original recipient has set up his Gmail account to forward emails to me: X-Forwarded-To: [myemail]@gmail.com X-Forwarded-For: [originalrecipientsemail]@gmail.com [myemail]@gmail.com Delivered-To: [originalrecipientsemail]@gmail.com I compared this to a legitimate email forwarded from a second account that I do own, and the syntax is exactly identical. I don't know how to block them from forwarding me their email. Is that possible?
    – Nate
    Mar 3 at 5:30
  • If I attempt to "Block" the sender, it blocks Microsoft, or Facebook, since they are the actual original sender of the email. I never agreed to or received notification that forwarding was set up from this other user to my email account, and I have no idea who they are. Google help docs are no help: support.google.com/mail/answer/10313?hl=en#zippy=
    – Nate
    Mar 3 at 5:34
  • Please edit your question to include the full header (replace identifying info). That may provide some additional insight. Per my answer, you should be able to filter these emails using "deliveredto:[originalrecipient]@gmail.com"
    – Blindspots
    Mar 3 at 15:14

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