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Receiving Someone Else's Email on Gmail

by Jo Shaer, on December 2, 2012

I've had this issue a couple of times in the last year - mail sent to one of my email addresses that wasn't actually meant for me.

One was where the person in question or the authority they were applying to had clearly typed in the wrong email address because it was to help them do something very official. I did email the authority concerned but heard nothing back and then received two further communications from them complaining that I had not responded...

Gmail do not recognise dots as characters

The second is two businesses who keep sending me their newsletter. They do not seem to be connected and I have never signed up. The email address to which the missives are coming has a . in it which would distinguish it from my actual address.

This was on gmail and next to the address was a notification which said (Yes, this is you. Learn more)

It would seem that Google does not distinguish between capital letters and full stops any more. Anything that looks vaguely similar to your email user name will come to you.

They give this example: = = =

All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You'll still go to your account.

If you receive email that seems to be intended for someone else, Google suggest that you contact the sender or the other user and alert them to the fact that they may have entered the wrong address. A bit like when you receive a misdialled phone number.

It is rather odd when there are two businesses now sending me newsletters that I did not sign up for with any variation of my name with or without full stops. I have unsubscribed from one - it asked me to put in the email address to which the email was sent. When I typed in my address without the full stop, it said it was the wrong email. Adding the full stop seemed to suggest that the emails would now stop.

We'll have to wait until next week to see. I am not happy to unsubscribe from the other newsletter if this is just a ruse to ascertain whether or not I actually am a real person.

Catch All Email Inboxes

I also had a client call me in a state of anxiety as to how some people had got all his email addresses. He had received a communication addressed to,,

Further checking revealed that he only actually had the info@ version set up. This was someone phishing for info. Many email inboxes are set up to send mail that has the domain extension but an incorrect username to a designated email inbox and that's why he had received all three emails.

Other useful information about using email - when is an email too big to send


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