OJS 3: ghost users?

Hey there,

we published a new issue of our journal. Some of the notification mails came back as undeliverable (with various reasons, most being “inexistent accounts”, so probably fake registrations). I could look up these users and disable/delete them. However, there are mails returning that have neither corresponding account nor a cleartext name. i tried to look them up in the user database, but they simply do not exist.

Generierender Server: ex07htca01.pers.ad.uni-graz.at
#554 5.4.4 SMTPSEND.DNS.NonExistentDomain; nonexistent domain ##rfc822;zfvfym@cenfib.com
Ursprüngliche Nachrichtenkopfzeilen:
Received: from EX13MS01.pers.ad.uni-graz.at (2002:8f32:dbf::8f32:dbf) by
ex07htca01.pers.ad.uni-graz.at (2002:8f32:d4f::8f32:d4f) with Microsoft SMTP
Server (TLS) id 8.3.515.0; Wed, 15 Nov 2017 08:59:38 +0100
To: <zfvfym@cenfib.com>
Subject: [JRFM] New notification from JRFM
X-PHP-Originating-Script: 33:class.phpmailer.php
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2017 07:59:34 +0000
From: “Prof. Dr. Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati” pezzoli@lmu.de
Reply-To: Christian Wessely christian.wessely@uni-graz.at

yet the user database does not contain a user with that mail adress; even worse, a mail adress like this seems not to exist in the user db (which I viewed w/ phpMyAdmin).

So it seems that the system send out “ghost messages” to non existing accounts or accounts disabled long time ago …

Any ideas about that?
Would be grateful.


Hi @Jesaiah,

Have you enabled re-captcha for new registration? If no, I suggest you do so.


Yes, I have … but these fake accounts seem to be relics from before.

Yet I have no problems with the fake accounts themselves, because I can locate the names and delete the corresponding accounts in the db.
What worries me is that obviously the system sends out mails to mail addys that do - strictly speaking - not exist (at least they do not show up in the user database) …