Author Topic: Strange e-mails that aren't mine  (Read 4103 times)

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RebeccainGA

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Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« on: September 04, 2013, 04:03:16 PM »
I get misdirected e-mail a lot. I have a common name (well, common enough) and I happen to have the FirstnameLastname@gmail.com address. I use it for everything - it's my primary account, and gets checked daily. I know there is a FirstnameLLastname out there (middle initial L), who is ironically in my field and around my age, and I get e-mail for her occasionally. This is usually newsletters, that sort of thing - nothing embarrassing or urgent. However, I've started getting e-mail for someone else, too - same name as mine, but likely has another variation of the name as their e-mail address. However, instead of the Humane Society newsletters and e-vites to pool parties I've gotten from the L name variant, I've gotten confirmation of this person's lease for a new apartment, and a *medical MaryJane* newsletter and confirmation of their eligibility from another state's health system for said herbal remedy. These worry me - both because I'm most certainly not moving to another state, nor am I in the market for that herbal remedy, legal or not.

Would it be rude for me to try to track this person down? Should I report the e-mails as spam? I'm really not sure what in the world to do with them - I didn't mind the out of state fluff, but this is serious stuff I'm seeing.

RebeccainGA

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 04:05:02 PM »
I do forward on to the L variant any e-mail I get that's misdirected - she and I have an ersatz friendship based on our common name - and she has roundly denied that she's moving to the state I got the lease for and isn't in the market for herbal remedies, either.

jedikaiti

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 04:09:56 PM »
When work got me a cell phone, the number assigned had previously belonged to a woman who had neglected to tell many people that her number changed. So I got lots of calls and texts for her.

I finally found her by searching Facebook for the phone number, and sent her a message. Ended up having to spend the $1 to get the message to her actual inbox, but she was very nice, and grateful to know so many people didn't know about her name change.

So I say go ahead and try to track them down - perhaps a Google or Facebook search for them? If you find them, just politely let them know that you've been getting their email, including some potentially confidential personal information, and you thought they should know so they can get it sorted out. I'm sure they're wondering where their email is.

Feel free to just unsubscribe from the newsletters, since they can just sign up again, and if you can't find the person (or they don't respond) just respond to all other senders with "I am sorry, but this address belongs to someone else entirely."
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betty

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 04:10:30 PM »
For the important looking stuff such as the lease and the health information, I'd reply to the sender telling them that they have the wrong email address.

For anything that is just a marketing newsletter, I'd either unsubscribe or just delete.

cwm

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 04:13:28 PM »
For the important looking stuff such as the lease and the health information, I'd reply to the sender telling them that they have the wrong email address.

For anything that is just a marketing newsletter, I'd either unsubscribe or just delete.

POD to this. While it is nice that you have the connection with the L name, it shouldn't be your responsibility to look this new person up to get their mail to them. Anything you can unsubscribe to, unsubscribe. Anything else, respond and say they must have the wrong email address, and please check and/or update their records to reflect that.

veronaz

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 04:14:49 PM »
What are you hoping to accomplish by tracking her down?  ???
If people are sending emails to the wrong address, it's her responsibility to correct it (give the correct address).  You're not her secretary.

The only thing you can do is delete them, block the senders or (better yet) change your email address.

RebeccainGA

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 04:17:23 PM »
What are you hoping to accomplish by tracking her down?  ???
If people are sending emails to the wrong address, it's her responsibility to correct it (give the correct address).  You're not her secretary.

The only thing you can do is delete them, block the senders or (better yet) change your email address.
I'm trying to be helpful - I'm not saying it's my responsibility. I'd run mail next door if the postman dropped it off at my house instead of my neighbors - this is the kind of gesture I'm thinking of.

I'm not changing my e-mail address. They aren't that disturbing.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 04:25:25 PM »
I'd also suggest responding to the senders once with a generic "You have reached an incorrect email address. Please remove this address from your database." Then block the email addresses of the sender every time you get one. It's a pain at first to keep adding blocked senders (depending on how many you get), but then the emails stop eventually. The sender, if they are a real person and not a spammer, will get a notification that their email bounced and hopefully they will have a secondary way of contacting the correct person. I wouldn't even take the additional step of unsubscribing which sometimes requires logging in -- just block and they won't bother you anymore.

I'm like you -- my real name is pretty common -- and I used to receive both personal and professional emails for a woman in Virginia. After employing the alert and block strategy, the emails have since stopped. I've never tried to contact her directly -- I assumed her friends and customers took care of that.
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shhh its me

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2013, 04:31:27 PM »
  For the lease since its so important I'd reply to them that they have the wrong email address.  I would not mark it as spam because it isn't,  it's someone using the wrong address.  Maybe shes giving it out wrong or maybe people are typing/writting it wrong I sometimes forget to type numbers after peoples name or forget if its hotmail or gmail ect.

MrTango

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2013, 05:01:32 PM »
I know it's not "nice," but I'd mark it as spam and forget about it.

If the landlord/tennant can't be bothered to use the correct email address, I'm not going to take time out of my day to sort it out.

Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2013, 05:47:02 PM »
I think that if you can easily track her down, it would be a nice thing to do.  If you can't do that so easily, then I'd reply to say that they have the wrong email address, and suggest they call the other RebeccainGA to get their correct email address.

I don't think it's something you have to do, but I do think it's a kindness.

squeakers

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2013, 08:21:47 PM »
I bet it is just dictionary spam http://blog.onlymyemail.com/dictionary-attack-spam/

I'd block the senders and delete the email.  Doing any kind of "return to sender" just lets the spammer know your email address is a good one.

And on the off chance someone input the wrong email addy (either the person with the similar addy or someone on the sender's side) .. well, them's the breaks.

I wouldn't bother forwarding any more email myself.  I have better things to do with my time.

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betty

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2013, 11:10:26 AM »
I bet it is just dictionary spam http://blog.onlymyemail.com/dictionary-attack-spam/

That's true: if it looks like spam, best to just ignore it or to mark as spam.

If you are curious and have time, you can copy a phrase from the email and google search it: the results will often tell you if it is known spam.

RebeccainGA

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2013, 12:03:15 PM »
I bet it is just dictionary spam http://blog.onlymyemail.com/dictionary-attack-spam/

That's true: if it looks like spam, best to just ignore it or to mark as spam.

If you are curious and have time, you can copy a phrase from the email and google search it: the results will often tell you if it is known spam.
These are definitely not spam - one had a lease with the person's name and new address on it, as well as banking information. The other one had their information with the Department of Health on it (same name). This is legitimate e-mail, probably quite important, but misdirected.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Strange e-mails that aren't mine
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2013, 12:34:10 PM »
Are you not responding back to the sender, for the important items, and telling them they have the wrong address?