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I received a very personal Gmail e-mail message today from the e-mail account of a friend who passed away 6 months ago. Is there a way to tell whether a Gmail e-mail message was sent using a delay send plugin? I have asked this question of both Google and Boomerang but have not received any answers.

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AFAIK, you can't know if the email was delayed on purpose. If I understand the feature correctly, a delayed email is basically held by the server until the set date, and then mailed - making the mailing date the email's sent date.

But you can try following the tip outlined in this article, to see if you can glean a different date from the email's header:

  1. Open the message inside Gmail and choose Show Original to view the message headers
  2. Copy the full message header to the clipboard
  3. Paste it into Google Apps’ Toolbox. This tool will analyze the email’s path and, based on the timestamps when it passed the different machines, it will tell you the exact source that is responsible for delaying the message delivery.
  • Thank you for the advice. I followed your instructions and all dates shown are the date the e-mail was received. This will continue to be a mystery. – Patti Owens Apr 16 '14 at 20:46
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    There can be only 2 explanations: 1. it was a delayed email; 2. Someone else took control of your friend's account and is now conning you. I'd be very careful on how you proceed. At any rate, if there's any call to action (especially financial) in that email, I'd take it with a grain of salt. – Traveling Tech Guy Apr 16 '14 at 21:27

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