tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

25Mar/121

Mistaken Email Identity

The first thing you should know about me is that I'm an early adopter. I had Gmail well before many other folks due to a nice person who sent me an invite. This means that I'm one of the lucky folks that managed to get my full name@gmail.com. Now because it was trendy at the time, I put a dot in between my first and last name, simply because that was what most people were doing.

A little-known fact about Gmail is that because of the dot in my name I actually own my full name with no dot @gmail.com as well.

A few years ago I started getting some emails that were distinctly not mine. Initially I thought these were spam but many of them seemed to actually be legitimate emails, including a tee time reservation for a ranch in Oregon. Eventually I started getting legitimate emails and personal correspondence for this person who seemed to share my name but who many people seemed to think had my email address and, obviously, did not.

It even came to the point that I had a back-and-forth with someone claiming that they had known me from somewhere else and I had said no I didn't and they had said oh no yes remember I met you here and I said no I'm a 20-year-old Canadian I'm pretty sure I've never met you before. A few weeks ago I even got a flight confirmation for this gentleman; however, with no way to reach him I had nothing to do with it obviously.

A few months ago I started receiving a mailing list email from a pub in the United Kingdom. I figured that my gentleman who golfed in Oregon had perhaps taken a trip and, for some reason, given his email to a local pub. However, I have since come to the conclusion that there is actually a third person who shares my first and last name and believes he owns that address at Gmail.com. The reason for this is a I have been receiving emails for a website purporting to allow UK people to have extramarital affairs. These emails come complete with a login and password allowing me to login as him and learn a bit more about him.

I initially debated the moral conundrum of logging in as someone else and looking over their personal emails, however I realized that this is guy seems to be cheating on his wife or encouraging others to cheat on their wives, so I'm kind of okay with it.

So a few minutes ago I did it, feeling just a little dirty even doing so. The gentleman had little information on his profile and it seemed to be only something exploratory; he only viewed one person and haven't done much of anything. However, being a little bit of a vigilante I went to look for a delete profile button but was unable to find anything. I attempted to delete his information but there is really nothing there, and so I settled for simply changing the email address to a nonsensical one that hopefully means he will be unable to log in again since he never received the login info and password that I have received.

The whole thing, the experiences with both Toms, really makes me wonder. How do you enter your own email address so completely wrong? How do you think you own email address that you never have and never will? I wish I had a way to get in touch with both of these gentlemen, for Oregon Tom to tell him that he really needs to make sure people get his email address right, and for the UK Tom to tell him that this is not the way.

Have you ever had a case of mistaken email identity? Tell me about it!

Last 5 posts in Personal, Tech

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  1. Man, story of my life. My name is Jennifer Miller. I think it’s one of the top 20 most common names in the English language. Try Googling my name. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

    Even if you Google “Jennifer Miller” and add Toronto to the query, I promise that not a single one of the results is me.

    Which is a blessing because I like to hide from the douchenozzles of my past, but also a curse because I get EVERYBODY’S email about EVERYTHING.


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