I found an email in my Gmail spam folder which has the Gmail trusted sender icon. This seemed strange as I never saw this on spam, and it is making me uncomfortable. I can't figure out what this message is, whether it is a scam, and if it is a scam, then how it might work.

The message is in Chinese (which I can't read), and appears to be a notification from Google that someone's (not mine) Gmail recovery email address has changed.

Does this mean that someone put in my email address as recovery email? Why would they do that?

Here are screenshots of the email, a google translated version, as well as the original source.

Original message screenshot Translated message screenshot Original message source (pastebin)


I think this is a very novel way to send spam.

The gmail account listed basically has set some ad text as their display name and you as the backup email. This can be done very quickly via APIs and will obviously trigger Google to send you an email from their domain (which most spam filters will trust).

No doubt Google will quickly ban the account/API key, but the attacker can trivially open/hack another Gmail account.


If you do not request anything, it is a simple phishing attack on your mail trying to catch your mailbox password.

You can transmit that mail to Google or best put it in spam, Google server should analyse it and target the attacker back ;-)


While I am not really sure why you have received such email (the translation is not really of much help), based on the original email text you have attached it highly suggests that this is a legitimate email sent from Google servers.

I think you should contact Google about your issue for your account security.


That email you have is verified to be from google but I am not quite sure why you have got it. It could be that a bot is trying to take control over your email account, it is not that uncommon. The best thing you can do at the moment is contact google support about these changes in your security. Google then can tell you the next steps.

In the meantime I suggest you:

  • Check your assosiated apps with your gmail account (you can view this under your gmail security prefrences)
  • Change your gmail password
  • Change your gmail recovery email

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