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Prove you sent that email?!

by plasmaman / July 17, 2006 3:21 PM PDT

Someone claimed they sent me an important email, but it never arrived (even after days of repeated requests).

They sent me a "forwarded" copy of the email, but I cannot tell if it is a forgery.

Is there any way to unfold whether it is an authentic forward or whether they just mocked it up?

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Forward...
by PKsteven / July 17, 2006 4:45 PM PDT

While you still are not clear on a couple of issues here, I recieve forwarded emails from people all the time. If you doubt it, run a virus check on it. Did you ask if the person in question forwarded it or re-sent an already forwarded email?

Paul

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Clarification for "Forward..."
by plasmaman / July 18, 2006 12:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Forward...

Someone claims they sent an email (call this #1) that I never received. From their Outlook sent items folder, they forwarded an email that looks like they might have sent #1.

The email they forwarded (call #2) is easily forged to look like they sent it before the deadline.

How can I tell that they did indeed send #1 based upon #2?

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In Regards To Dates: Forging Is Easy..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 18, 2006 12:52 AM PDT

I've found no way to completely confirm whether the original from a forwarded message was actually set on the day indicated.. Still, comparison with other forwarded Outlook messages should give you a clue.. The top of the message should look similar to this:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Smith [mailto:ESmith@email.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 05, 2006 11:07 AM
To: Jones, John
Subject: Flyer for the Computer Users Conference


I'm using Outlook 2002 here and all forwarded messages have this section indicated in the top portion of the message section.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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I see
by PKsteven / July 18, 2006 3:02 AM PDT

I see what you mean. So in fact you believe they may be lying? As Grif said, yes it can be easily forged. I just did this as a test and for the sake of it, sent myself an email while the body was a message to my wife. Like this ,


ORIGINAL MESSAGE

wife@today.net


from ME

date 1\1\11


I left the date as day sent and edited the FROM line by putting her email addy and forwarded it from the sent items folder. So yes this works and it appeared I tried to send it before. While can't tell you how to see if it's forged or not, it's very obvious that it can be. This was using outlook express and even the ORIGINAL MESSAGE line looks as if I forwarded it right to my wife. So I suppose this means you are back to square one.


Paul

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Exactly
by plasmaman / July 18, 2006 11:45 PM PDT
In reply to: I see

I did a similar thing as a test, but went an extra step and edited the "blah-blah-blah" header which has the routing information. Surprising that the headers do not have a way of being write/edit protected-- maybe something that software developers might look into. Maybe not, though, since this can be done via snail mail as well. Perhaps the return receipt features could be improved? It looks like the only way to confirm our suspicions is to get the ISP to send a list of transactions between them and their client around the time that my contractor claims to have sent the email.

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How depends on your...
by Edward ODaniel / July 18, 2006 6:57 AM PDT

specific email client.

You need to check the header information which isn't quite so easily forged (although it is possible assuming they have control of the SMNP dating the message).

If these people simply forwarded a copy of what was in their "sent" folder however the header info will only show current date and time even though another might really have been lost. In that case you would be constrained to having their email host verify the earlier message as having been sent according to their logs IF that host is willing to do so.

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Contacting host helped
by plasmaman / July 18, 2006 11:34 PM PDT
In reply to: How depends on your...

I had not thought of contacting their host ISP. I did so and they state their client had not sent the email. They were even kind enough to not charge me to do this!

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Depending on several items
by lacsr / July 18, 2006 9:44 PM PDT

I assume you are trying to do this on your own but depending on the environment it was in when sent, others may be able to help. If you are in a business environment with an IT Department, they can help you with finding out what you need. Also, depending on how important (time, money, or both) this message is, you could hire an IT expert to help. MS products are common, and tricks for them are widespread. Other email products are less common and may require outside help to authenticate messages. Either way, if this is very important to you, you will probably need help in order to make your case.

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IT firm that provides help?
by plasmaman / July 18, 2006 11:39 PM PDT

Unfortunately I don't have an IT department for this. So, Lacsr suggested getting additional help, which would be useful in proving to the subcontractor that the emailed information was not sent on time. Is there an IT firm that you'd recommend for assistance?
Thanks!

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Again depending on the consequences of the inquiry
by lacsr / July 20, 2006 5:05 AM PDT

If this is big money consequences, I would contact a lawyer and see if you can get any help that way. I do not know of any firms online for hire but you can Google for that. My preference is to look in the phonebook so I can talk face to face with the firm I hire for that type of work. (I always relied on our IT department) If you have all of the facts as you suspect and give it to a firm that can do the required research to prove your point, then that is all you need. If this subcontractor is the IT person you normally rely on, then you may have a lttle more problem finding some one else you can trust.
I hope it works out for you.

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