This sort of thing is a well known ploy by spammers to get unsuspecting users to open the email to read it.
It's happened to me as well. The spammers create millions upon millions of spam emails a day using an email address generator. The generator creates email addresses that may or may not be genuine, and any that are not are simply discarded if and when they are returned from the ISP because the address is not known.
But by creating so many they are bound to "strike lucky", and then if the receiver opens the email, certain cleverly crafted emails can send a message back to the spammer to say they have found a genuine email address.
You seem to be aware of the risk of opening such emails, and that is a great start. One thing I would ask, although you know not to open any such emails, does your OE have its Preview Pane open? If so, by highlighting such emails to right click and check the message source, you may be previewing it, and that is as good as opening it.
If you don't then that is even better.
There is little you can do about it, and eventually those type of emails will die off. In the meantime, if you don't send many emails yourself, you could set up a message rule in OE's Account options to move any more you receive either directly to Trash, or to a special folder where you can check them periodically.
I hope that helps.
My desktop computer runs Windows XP Home Edition and Outlook Express. I have run this for years without serious issues. In addition I use Norton Personal Firewall and Norton Antivirus.
My problem for the last three weeks is that everytime I open up Outlook Express I receive 10 or 12 new emails from "Mail Delivery System" with a subject line of "Delivery status notification." (The same type of return message you get when an email recipient you mail to is not found). Well, having not sent any emails for over a week...I know this is a bogus notification.
Since I know better than to open emails I don't recognize, I right click one, and then select properties, then click the Details tab, then click Message Source to see where this is coming from. There's always some email address I've never seen before (usually a bellsouth email address) and some dumb message like "just what I've been waiting for" or "hope she likes me for what I am."
My questions are...what is this crap? how did this start? where do they come from? and how do I get rid of them? Last weekend I ran a full scale systems virus scan, a complete spybot s&d scan and fix, a defrag...everything! Nothing was found. I'm still getting them and I don't know how to get rid of them.
Please help me.