By Leo Notenboom
Hi, I received e-mails (printed out). I am being told by the person who is
said to have originally sent the e-mails that they are fabricated e-mails. In
other words, he claims that he sent an e-mail to someone and that person
modified the content to make it look like they were his words. Can this easily
be done. How can I tell if it’s been altered or if it is an original?
One of email’s “dirty little secrets” is the answer to your question: it’s
trivially easy to alter email as you describe.
In fact, if I understand the scenario you’re describing, it might even be
easier than that.
There are technologies to help ensure the integrity of messages, but
unfortunately they’re not something you can apply after-the-fact.
If I understand you correctly, you’ve been handed a print out – a piece of
paper – that contains an email message.
You, I or anyone can make a print out look like whatever we want. Just fire
up a word processor, text editor, or even a photo editor, and type in what you
want. If you have a message to start with, then copy/paste that in as a place
to start, but then sure … edit the heck out of it. There’s nothing to stop
And once printed, there’s no easy way to prove that it was never a real
Even without resorting to additional editing tools, some email programs will
actually let you edit the message you’ve received. You can go in, change
whatever words you’d like, and then save it, print it out or whatever. Again,
it’s not that obvious that the message has been altered, particularly once
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