Risk management: Email

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Attached files

  • Files attached to emails may contain viruses, Trojans and other sources of risk.
  • Use your antivirus program to check all incoming emails, and in particular check all attached files before double-clicking on them. Double clicking will run the program associated with the correspoding file type.
  • You should not open executable files unless they are sent by a trusted sender and you expect an executable file to arrive. Remember that sending addresses can be simulated to make you believe the email comes from somebody you know.
  • Word files (extension .doc) may contain macro viruses, so it is good practice to request files to be sent in Rich Text Format (extension .rtf), as RTF is a pure text format that does not hold executable code (and therefore no viruses).
  • You can use WordPad to open an attached file safely. Distrust any garbled text you find in a document that should contain text.

The use of free email services

  • When you receive a job offer from a company you never worked for sent by the alleged project manager (or equivalent) from a free email address (such as [email protected] ) you should consider this as a warning of possible problems ahead.
    • It would not hurt you to take some additional step to confirm that the assignment is real (for instance contacting the company by means of their webpage).
    • Check also for the correct spelling of the company name in the domain, as a scamming address could be created to resemble a legitimate address by means of a small typo.
  • A recent quick poll on the question "Do you distrust job inquiries sent from a free email account?" produced the following results:
    • 46.4% voted "No, not necessarily"
    • 40.8% voted "Yes, generally"
    • 10.0% voted "No, why should I?"
    • 2.8% selected the option "Other - N/A"
  • In the associated discussion some members reported being generally wary of free email addresses from an alleged company (agency, end client, etc.), but they found it quite normal in emails from translators.
  • A member added that it is easy and inexpensive to make a domain name and an email address with a format [email protected] so the email address data needs to be considered very carefully.

Reading and understanding the source IP address

On IP addresses

  • According to Wikipedia, an Internet Protocol (IP) address is a numerical label that is assigned to devices participating in a computer network, that uses the Internet Protocol for communication between its nodes. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing. Its role has been characterized as follows: "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A route indicates how to get there."
  • In other words, the IP address of an incoming email will give you valuable information about the physical location of the sender. Some users have dedicated IP addresses while some other IP addresses are shared by the users of a given Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • IP addresses are usually displayed in human-readable notations, such as
  • IP addresses provide an useful and simple risk management tool. If you receive a job offer from someone claiming to be a London based agency and the sender IP address of the email is, a simple investigation may show you that the email really comes from Lagos, Nigeria instead of London. This inconsistency is indicative of a probable scam.

IP addresses and how to decode them

  • Once you have the source IP of the email you can investigate this information using a tool like to one provided by Melissa
  • To do that you should enter the IP address in the corresponding field and click on "submit".
    • You will get the following information: city, state or region, country and Internet Service Provider (ISP)
    • For instance if you enter the IP you will get
City	Lagos
State or Region	Lagos
Country	Nigeria
ISP	Assigned To Lagos Dial-Pool Customers. 

Getting the source IP address of an incoming email

Emails received through your ProZ.com profile

  • When a logged-in user sends you an email through your ProZ.com profile, the header of the message includes the following information:
You have been sent a message via ProZ.com.
Author: Enrique (ProZ.com Member)
Author's Profile: http://www.proz.com/profile/xxxxxx
Author's IP address:
Message type: {subject line entered by the sender}
  • When the sender was not logged-in the header shows:
You have been sent a message via ProZ.com.
Author: XXXX [NOTE: The author is not a registered ProZ.com user or was not logged in when sending this message.]
Author's IP address:
Message type: {subject line entered by the sender}

Using Gmail

  • Open the received email
  • Click on the down-pointing arrow immediately to the right of the "Reply" button, at the top-right corner of the message pane.
  • Select the "Show original" option.
  • A new window will open including the full header including the information "client-ip=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx"

Using Yahoo email

  • Open the received email
  • Scroll to the bottom of page and click on the "Full header" link.
  • Look for the "Originating-IP: [xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx]" information

- Select an email
- Right-click and select View Full Header
- Look for the "X-Originating-IP: [xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx]" information

Using Windows Live Hotmail

  • To see the full email including all header lines in Windows Live Hotmail:
    • Open the desired email in Windows Live Hotmail.
    • Click the down arrow next to Reply in the message's header area near the sender and subject.
    • Pick View message source from the menu.

Using Mozilla Thunderbird

Using MS Outlook Express

- Select an email
- Right-click and select Properties
- Open Details tab and Look for the "Received: from" information

Using Mail (Mac)

- Select an email
- Click on View then select Message
- Click on All Headers

Discussion related to this article

Please note that ProZ.com forum rules apply to this area.

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