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The last week, I've been getting this kind of emails to addresses that I don't use:

Dear Sir, Madam,

For security reasons and as part of our ongoing fight against spam, it is our policy not to accept e-mail from unrecognized outside vendors.

You are receiving this message because it is the first time that you have sent me an e-mail message.

To ensure that your message is delivered to me, simply : click here to forward the e-mail.

This identification step needs only to be completed once. All your future messages will come straight to me.

Thank you very much for your help in the fight against spam.

Sincerely yours,

I suppose it's just a trick to verify that email addresses are in use, or even to solve some captchas. Is there any program that actually does this, or can I safely ignore the emails?

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Have you sent emails to the email account that sent you that email? –  Terry Chia Jul 30 '12 at 12:37
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@TerryChia No, but they could still be legitimate replies to spam spoofed to originate from my email addresses. –  Anna Jul 30 '12 at 12:38
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@Anna "legitimate replies to spam spoofed to originate from my email addresses" IOW, it is spam. –  curiousguy Jul 30 '12 at 15:22
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2 Answers

This is almost certainly a scam, using the concept of "spam protection" to try to lull you into a false sense of security.

The email is likely one of three four things:

  1. Spammers looking for real (active) email addresses, so they can focus their efforts.
  2. Spammers using you to solve their captchas for them. Pretty sneaky!
  3. A site stuffed with browser exploits, aimed at getting malware onto your box.
  4. Phishing for personal details. Notice that they said the "identification step needs only to be completed once", implying that they're going to ask for personal details.

Each are viable, but I think #2 or #4 are probably most likely.

Either way, just delete them.

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It is highly probable there exists a spam filter sending these kinds of e-mail. However, if such, the whole point of this is verifying that the e-mail they received is legitimate and came from you. So, if you didn't send anything, you should just ignore this.

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Heh, didn't think of that –  Anna Jul 30 '12 at 13:37
    
"So, if you didn't send anything, you should just ignore this." If you didn't send anything, you could want to thank them for sending you this spam, and fill-in some random informations. –  curiousguy Jul 30 '12 at 15:26
    
At a pretty significant risk to your computers/networks security. I would just blacklist them, so I don't even go there accidentally. –  Everett Jul 30 '12 at 20:22
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@Everett "At a pretty significant risk to your computers/networks security." It is also a "significant risk" to even use a web browser. "would just blacklist them, so I don't even go there accidentally." I would blacklist the domain in the mail server as a spam source. –  curiousguy Jul 30 '12 at 22:22
    
I do agree using a web browser does have risk. However, you can mitigate the risk (proxy as an example). Intentionally going to a site to fill in random garbage is unnecessarily risky behavior. –  Everett Jul 30 '12 at 22:30
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