Incoming spam emails using names of my email buddies


New Email
Hi - this is my first post, apologies if my query is already covered in a previous thread. I have been with Hotmail for almost 20 years, I use the web interface ( rather than an email app like Outlook etc... Having been "hacked" some years ago and had someone use my email to send spam to everyone in my list of contacts, I deleted all my contacts (except a handful of people with whom I am no longer in touch) and rely on Hotmail "remembering" addressees I have previously written to, i.e. on the To: line, I start typing an email address and after a few characters, Hotmail displays the complete address to save me typing it all.

It now seems that spammers are sending me email but with these "remembered" email addresses in the "from" line (or at least, the email id before the "@" sign). So for example, if a have previously emailed someone whose address is "", then the "from" field of the spam says it's from "james monroe". Of course, closer inspection of the sender's email address shows that it is spam. But my concern is: how did the spammer come to know that "james.monroe" is someone to whom I send email? Has my Hotmail been hacked again?