Are you planning on forwarding an email to someone else, and are wondering if the original sender will see that you’ve forwarded it?
This is a common fear, especially if you’re sending something that wasn’t intended to be shared.
So, in this article we’ll cover everything that you need to know, as well as some additional tips to make sure the original sender never finds out.
Let’s get to it!
Will The Original Sender Know If You Forward An Email?
Typically, the answer is no.
Most modern email clients do not send any information back to the original sender if you forward one of their emails. So, unless somebody specifically tells them that their email has been forwarded, they will have no way of ever finding out.
That being said, the email address of the original sender will often be visible to the person that receives the forwarded message.
So, it’s always possible that they could end up telling them, or even emailing them back by mistake!
Of course, this usually isn’t something to worry about.
Just to be on the safe side, you’ll want to check your email client’s settings to ensure that there is nothing enabled that notifies people when emails are forwarded.
Typically, this can be found by going to your email client’s settings, and going to the ‘Forwarding’ section. It may also be located near the global email settings, where you type in your signature, automatic CC / BCC addresses, and anything else that affects all outgoing emails.
Note however that if you’re using the popular web-based clients, such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Protonmail, AOL or iCloud, these settings are either unavailable or turned off by default.
So, you don’t have to worry!
More Details On Gmail…
Gmail is arguably one of the most advanced email platforms in the world, and has over 1.5 billion active users.
So, if there were one email client that had the capability to send information back to the original sender, it would be this one.
But can the original sender see if their email was forwarded if someone is using Gmail?
Thankfully, the answer still seems to be no. Unless you or the recipient specifically tell them, they will have no way of knowing that their email was ever forwarded to someone else.
So, you should feel free to comfortably forward any email that you’d like using Gmail – the original sender will never know.
Watch Out For CCs/ BCCs While Forwarding!
In rare cases, it’s possible for the original sender to find out you’ve forwarded their message if they are automatically CC’d or BCC’s into the forwarded messages chain.
This is particularly true if the original sender is using CRM software to manage their emails, which is commonly used in business settings by sales, marketing, or customer service teams.
Their CRM may automatically include additional addresses that are CC’d in automatically. When an email is sent to this address, it is added to the CRM database.
Long story short, make sure when you forward an email that the only address is the one you’re trying to forward it to.
Additionally, we recommend removing any unnecessary links. Popular email marketing software tracks each person that clicks on a link, so if the receiver of the forwarded message clicks on one, the company may know that the email has been sent to someone else.
If The Receiver Replies, Will The Original Sender See It?
Most of the time, no. Even if you forward a message to someone and the receiver of that email replies, the original sender should not receive a copy.
This is because the reply button defaults to replying to whoever sent the message to them, which in this case, would be you.
That being said, not all email clients operate differently.
For more instructions and guidance, see the next section.
How Do You Safely Reply To A Forwarded Message?
Let’s say that you were the one that received a message, that was forwarded by someone else. How do you safely reply to it without the original sender knowing, or even worse – receiving a copy of your reply?
Thankfully, this isn’t really something that you need to worry about.
On most email clients, if you reply to a forwarded email, the reply field will automatically be filled with the person that forwarded you the email, not the person who may have originally wrote or sent it.
Of course, you should double-check this yourself prior to sending your reply.
Look and see which email address is located in the ‘Reply’ field – and make sure it’s the person that forwarded the email to you, not the original person that sent it.
Additionally, check both the CC and BCC fields to make sure the original sender aren’t included. Otherwise, replies may end up going both to the forwarder, and the original sender.
As mentioned however, this is rare. Typically, email clients will only send replies to the person who emailed you, and that’s it.
On almost every email client, the original sender will not know if you forward one of their emails.
However, you may want to double check your specific email client just to be safe – especially if is not listed above.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about email, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister