Weird Email Stuff

So, for the last while, I have been getting other people’s emails. One I figured was a database entry error, because as far as I could tell, there was no activity (confirmations, etc) required by the other user.

The second one is more disturbing. The email in question (mine) is @ gmaildotcom. This person has managed to set up an AppleID using namename @ gmaildotcom, despite the fact that the confirmation code was sent to me.

I changed my email password. I could fuck them over, possibly, by changing their AppleID password (after all, I would get the emails). I just don’t know if they were able to access my email. If not, I see no need to punish someone for a mistake. If they are using it maliciously, I hope I am not screwed.


Sounds familiar… I have the same problem. My doppelganger lives in Canada, and her email is firstlast @ gmaildotcom, where my email is first dot last @ gmaildotcom. As a result, I get some of her emails from time to time, including e-receipts.

I try to email or call the companies involved, with varying degrees of success. If that doesn’t solve the problem, they go on the Spam list. I’ve been tempted to contact this person myself… but that would probably sound creepy, so I don’t. I wonder if she gets any of my mail? (It might explain why I haven’t gotten the email confirmation of paid-off water bills the last couple of months.)


That sounds like a spammer, not a doppelganger.

No-one’s going to choose gmaildotcom as part of their ID unless they’re trying to deceive.

I had a scary phishing attempt last week. Rather than the usual email, they sent a recurring calendar entry where every day I was scheduled to respond too a “survey” to get Netflix for free for a year. I deleted without accepting, and so far so good.

I wonder if there’s been an uptick lately.


But as the email address to set it up? A lot of people use gmail.

I just don’t know if this person got their confirmation code another way (because they didn’t get the email), or if they somehow got into mine. I didn’t get a sign-in alert from a new device (for gmail… Igot emailsabout their Apple sign-ins), either. But, again, I don’t know if there are ways to bypass that.


I don’t think they got into yours, if you didn’t confirm.

It sounds like they’re trying to, though.


For the record, periods are not supposed to matter in gmail addresses; MalevolentPixy@gmail, Malevolent.Pixy@gmail, and Mal.e.volent.Pixy@gmail are all treated the same. It’s sometimes taken advantage of as a way to set up multiple accounts on the same site.

I’ve gotten a lot of spam in a foreign language, apparently from someone giving out a differently punctuated version of what was actually my e-mail address – though of course anyone could have given out the usual version just as easily. The only odd thing about your experience is if they were able to confirm the AppleID when the e-mail went to you. If so, though changing your password was sensible, I bet they probably found another way to do it. Too bad for them, because you’re going to get all their notifications.

Nightflyer, I’d also thought about contacting the person giving out my address to let them know their mistake, but it’s not actually possible. The only e-mail I have for them is really mine!


According to Google, she definitely exists. (There’s another Firstname Lastname out there too, in Idaho, but since the emails are consistently Canadian, it isn’t that one.) The Gmail dot Com isn’t part of their ID; I typed it that way to avoid Discourse making an automatic link.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. My first name was very common in the 70s. I didn’t think my last name was, but it’s an Americanization of whatever the original Polish was, and a common word on its own. (I don’t want to mention it openly because Internet, and it’s not just me I’d be mentioning.) It doesn’t appear to be malicious either; the last three companies were kids’ clothes, outdoor clothing, and a retirement home, all in Canada, where I’m not.

I wish I’d known that when I set up my email account; it’s been years and I’ve used it too many places to easily change it.)


For quite a while I was getting offers of trucking jobs in my gmail account because someone on the other side of the country with the same name as me messed up their email address. In one particular case I called up the company because they were being particularly persistent.

I ended up having to very patiently beat it into their rep’s head that just because they were sending to the email address without a period in it, didn’t mean that my account with the period wasn’t receiving the email.

…And then that, no, I couldn’t contact the person to tell them to stop, because the only information I had about them was that they were giving out my email address.

…And then that, NO, I hadn’t given them my email address, and none of my friends had as a prank, and just stop sending email to this address already!


It’s apparently happening more and more. The kind lady I spoke to at the retirement home said she has the same thing happen to her too.


It’s been a long time since I read RFC 5233, but I believe that it specifies that periods to the left of the @ are valid in email addresses. Gmail breaks this standard but calls it a feature. It is not fixable from your side. Here’s a Stack Overflow thread about it.


I get some for my döppelganger every now and then. Last one was someone trying to arrange their music lessions.


That’s good then.

I know of all the people who have both my first and last name in the world. We all live in Canada, and at the moment I believe there’s only three of us total. The other ones aren’t actually related to me, although by sheer coincidence my grandparents and theirs did meet and wound up being friends due to the shared unusual last name. They’re not even the same ethnicity as us.

It makes it super easy for me to snag web site names, and not having random numbers in my LinkedIn is nice, but I probably get more freaked out by mistaken identity than people with more common names.

That, and of the the other ones has a sister who’s into genealogy, and she keeps sending me annoying emails about my family tree.

ETA: autocorrect


Lesions caused by music, or music with lesions? :stuck_out_tongue:

Today I actually checked the one account of mine that’s had the issue (I don’t use it a whole lot), and apparently someone sent their IRS 1098 to “me” for some reason, and someone else in Kentucky with my name seems to have problems with their roof.

I hope the one with the IRS form figured out their mistake. It’s a bit past the deadlines now.


Back when I was teaching, I’d have students email me their assignments.

I never got any from this one guy. He’d insist that I must have misfiled or lost his messages. I’d send him emails, and he would get them fine, but obviously there was something wing with me and my marking system because he was doing everything perfectly…

Then one day he got an email from a very polite person who said she was a woman living in Ohio, and she’d just been ignoring these emails, but there were so many, and they looked like homework, and maybe he should double check with address with his teacher?

So then it was my fault he was typing in the wrong address, even though is asked him several times to check. Even other students had offered to check it for him. I got over 20 assignments right before report cards were due, and he yelled at me in front of the class he’d sue if they weren’t marked (Canadian students threaten to sue a lot, even though our litigation laws are pretty strict).

My department head wisely advised me to given him the same math as he received on the exam: 50%.


They’re both gmail accounts. One would think that gmail would have said “that account name is taken”.

Ignoring it at one stage and not another is bad design.


I think there’s some confusion here… basically, gmail ignores the periods in the name part of the email address completely. So “somebody@” and “some.body@” are actually the same account, and if you have one then no one can get the other.

More info:

What to do if you get someone else’s mail

Adding dots doesn’t change your address, so dots aren’t why you got someone else’s mail. Instead, the sender probably mistyped or forgot the correct address.


That maybe the case, but I distinctly remember signing my partner up for her Gmail account (one of my 5 invites so still in beta) and firstlast was not available, but first.last was so I settled on that.

< Shrug >

That’s my anecdote.


It’s difficult to track how it worked all the way back to beta, but I was at least able to find an official post about the feature 11 years ago:

[edit] and it looks like the FAQ said the same in 2005:


I have a Gmail account with common words and I get these kind of emails constantly.

Sometimes these emails have a “if you didn’t sign up for this” link that can use to report and close the account immediately. The sketchiest sites don’t make it that easy, so I’ll either change their password or close the account. (Or if I’m feeling particularly malicious I’ll mess with them but usually I don’t have the time or interest in doing this.)

Bottom line is there’s probably nothing to worry about here and it’s just an annoyance you’ll have to live with.


Also if you have not already done so, please by all means set up multi-factor authentication for your Google account. It will protect you against all but the most determined and sophisticated hackers.

(In general, you should use multi-factor authentication anywhere that supports it, even here.)