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Step 5: Contact the email provider

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If someone is using a common email provider (such as Gmail) to impersonate you, this is known as display name spoofing.

Display name spoofing is a targeted attack where cybercriminals send emails using a fraudulent display name on their email account. Emails will look like they came from you, but closer inspection of the email address will show that it’s incorrect.

These spoofed email addresses typically originate from Microsoft’s email services (Outlook, Hotmail, Live, MSN), Gmail, or another third party email provider like ProtonMail. By using valid vendors, spoofed email addresses can bypass anti-spam or anti-phishing filters as they are not coming from forged email addresses. 

If you are a victim of display name spoofing, you may be able to send an abuse report to the email service provider as abuse. They will conduct an investigation and may take action where appropriate.

You can report fraudulent email usage to the relevant email service provider:

  • For Outlook, Hotmail, Live or MSN, forward the email as an attachment to
  • For Gmail, submit an abuse report at 
  • For other email providers, refer to their websites for abuse reporting methods.


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