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How to Analyze Full Email Headers to Identify Phishing Scams

by Inka Luoma last modified Oct 23, 2015 05:52 PM

In the document Is This a Phishing Email? we examine two examples of a Phishing Scam describing the red flags raised before one even looks at the the full email headers to identify the actual sender of an email.

In this document we show the full email headers opened to view (follows below image in black), that underlie this Phishing Scam:

In the full email headers the first thing to look at is the Return-Path. Notice that the sender of the Phish is It is not an OlympusNet email address. At the bottom of the headers there is an identifying line that the authenticated user is Unless that address were familiar to you, you have the final proof to discard this email as a scam.

See How to Display Full Email Headers in your email application, or using Webmail.

Return-Path: srs0+/
X-FDA: 70754798268.08.skate44_709b2045baf3a
Authentication-Results:; dkim=none
    reason="no signature"; dkim-adsp=unknown (insecure policy);
X-Spam-Summary: 50,0,0,61b1a28ea00306f6,d41d8cd98f00b204,srs0+/,:,RULES_HIT:41:72:355:379:800:901:960:962:967:973:983:988:989:1189:1208:1212:1221:1260:1263:1313:1314:1345:1381:1431:1436:1437:1516:1517:1518:1534:1541:1560:1575:1588:1589:1593:1594:1711:1714:1730:1749:1777:1792:1801:2068:2069:2525:2566:2682:2685:2828:2859:2890:2902:2915:2933:2937:2939:2942:2945:2947:2951:2954:3022:3138:3139:3140:3141:3142:3867:3873:3934:3936:3938:3941:3944:3947:3950:3953:3956:3959:4042:4321:4362:4552:4605:4659:5007:6261:6678:7266:8518:8599:8603:9025:9040:9080:9149:9388:9855:10004:10049:10400:11473:11658:11854:11914:12043:12438:12555:12679:12740:13132:13231:14093:21080,0,RBL:neutral,CacheIP:none,Bayesian:0.5,0.5,0.5,Netcheck:none,DomainCache:0,MSF:not bulk,SPF:fn,MSBL:0,DNSBL:neutral,Custom_rules:0:0:0
X-HE-Tag: skate44_709b2045baf3a
X-Filterd-Recvd-Size: 3362
Received: from ( [])
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    for <>; Sun, 18 Oct 2015 10:06:13 +0000 (UTC)
X-Default-Received-SPF: pass (skip=loggedin (res=PASS)) x-ip-name=;
From: "Olympus Verification Centre" <>
Subject: Verify Your Olympus Email Account !!
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; charset="ISO-8859-1"; boundary="qxarv76Gk6AEZssL8VD9mAjpexnfDR=_MX0"
MIME-Version: 1.0
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 2015 11:06:08 +0100
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