YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

January 29th, 2013 | by TJ |

I have had a Gmail account for a long time. I know, we all have. But I mean, a long time. I bought my Gmail account invitation on Ebay when you still had to have an invitation to get an account. It’s a standard firstname.lastname account, and if you don’t know, the period in the middle doesn’t matter – the firstnamelastname version belongs to me as well. If you have a period in your Gmail account name, the same is true for you – anything written to either version comes to you.

Anyway. I guess my maiden name is a common name. Not super common, like you meet a firstname.lastname combination every day, but common enough that there’s not only more than one other one out there, but more than one other one out there who COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY BELIEVES that she owns my email address.

You might think that this is an annoying problem – and it is. I get signed up for a lot of mailing lists that have nothing to do with me and do not appeal to me in any way. The other mes shop in a lot of places that are not my style. So I have to unsubscribe. A lot.

There are these occasional lists, though, where you can’t unsubscribe unless you log in. And you can’t log in without your password. And you can’t get your password unless you answer your challenge question. WHAT THE HELL. I JUST WANT TO UNSUBSCRIBE. FINE. ALUMNI NEWSLETTER FOREVER. But, actually, if you’re a person who doesn’t know your email address, you should probably be grateful for that kind of email list. As you will see.

I know what you’re thinking. These people just give out a throwaway address and I happen to be catching the brunt of it. Poor me, oh well.

If that was true, I wouldn’t be helpfully responding to work emails. To requests for JOB INTERVIEWS. To others mes’ children’s TEACHERS. Oh, so helpfully, because you know me, that’s just who I am. “Hi, I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but the person who gave you this email is confused, it does not belong to her. Good luck!”

Other mes, I’ve seen your grandparents’ vacation photos. TONS of them. I’ve replied, “Hey, not me,” once. A couple more arrived. I reply again. More. I reply all. “Hi, I’m sorry, you seem like a lovely family, but these are personal photos and I’m a stranger, please remove me from this email chain.” MORE. Soon, the whole family is replying. “GRANDMA. THAT’S NOT KELLY.” “But that’s the email she gave us!” Well, then I must be a big lying liar.

Seriously, though, lovely photos.

In addition to photos, I get some painfully personal emails. I know I shouldn’t read them, but I can’t look away. It’s like a train wreck. And it’s in MY EMAIL account! You can’t send a naked person to dance in my living room and then get upset when I look at him. But I don’t respond to those. I can’t. I don’t want those people to know a stranger read it. I just leave it to the other idiot me to explain why she never responded. That’s her problem.

“I never got an email from you. I don’t understand. I gave you the email address I never actually signed up for that I give to everyone else. Why does my email never get to me? I mean, it’s not like I can actually log in to that account, or can actually receive email at the address I keep giving to people. I just don’t understand what the disconnect is here. Give me a second, I’ll put it together… almost got it… nope. Just slipped away.”

You know what made me feel really bad recently? When I kept getting activation emails from Club Penguin, telling me to activate my child’s account so he could play. And they kept coming in with the user name changed by one number. But I couldn’t do it! I didn’t have the information needed! Child! Your mother is an idiot! She’s giving you an email address to enter for her approval, and then waiting for the email to arrive at a DIFFERENT ADDRESS. I wish I could help you. I WISH YOU COULD PENGUIN.

Ok, let’s review. You’re another me, one who doesn’t actually know your own email address. You regularly sign yourself up for mailing lists on topics that interest you, and for coupons and sale alerts at stores where you shop. In fact, this morning, you went to Sports Authority and signed up for a store loyalty card. I know, because I happened to be checking my email when you did it. I immediately went to unsubscribe, because you can’t let these things pile up.

But this wasn’t one of those lists with a simple “click to unsubscribe” link. Nope, I had to log into “my” account. So I requested “my” password, and just like that, I was in. Because “my” password was sent to MY email account, of course. Oh, look, a $5 reward coupon. Thanks, other me. And oh… your phone number.

That’s not the first time your ridiculous mistake has given me access to whatever the hell I want, other me. One time, one of the other mes was getting married, and she registered at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Do you KNOW how many emails that store sends when you create your wedding registry there? I do, because I did it when I was ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED. Do you also know how easy it is to take control of a wedding registry when you’re just… handed control? Because the person with the email on the account is the one in control. Adding ugly dishes and expensive high chairs to your wedding registry was the only way to communicate with you, other me. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Not all the other mes are bad people. For example, while I was writing this, one of them – in Virginia – filled out a petition and letter to her representatives to strengthen Virginia’s texting while driving ban. A noble cause. I can get behind that. It was one of those things that has a prewritten letter, and fills in your name for you. And your full address and phone number.

Sports Authority me lives in Southern Michigan. Texting while driving banner me lives in Virginia. There’s a me in Wisconsin who gives my email to professional colleagues AND car dealerships. There’s one in Ocean City, Maryland who got asked out on a date by a sweet guy named Randy. I was polite when I turned him down. I think there’s even one in Australia? And then a bunch, or maybe just overlaps, who are just FLOATING IDIOTS.

The one who occasionally sends an email from a hotmail account that just says, “test?” I always write back “NOT YOUR EMAIL.” She doesn’t respond.

The one who keeps setting up a Twitter account that I have to keep deleting, which, let me tell you, IS A PAIN IN THE ASS.

The one whose college friends decided to set up a “super fun blog!” together and are COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS to my repeated demands that they STOP EMAILING, necessitating that I create more and more elaborate email filters that they keep finding their way around.

I’ve HELPED someone CHASE ANOTHER ME DOWN and sort out a situation so other me could return a pair of boots. AS IF IT WAS AT ALL MY RESPONSIBILITY. And that wasn’t a unique situation. “Well, this is the email I was given” is not unusual in my inbox. Just typing that makes my pulse throb against the top of my skull.

THE POINT OF THIS ALL IS: If you do not know your email address, YOU ARE ANNOYING THE SHIT OUT OF SOMEONE.

No. Okay. Seriously.

THE REAL POINT OF ALL THIS IS: If you do not know your email address, and you are giving out a similar address to your own – say, mine, for the sake of lazy writing – I have your address, I have your phone number, I have your coupons. I have gotten frustrated and rearranged your wedding registry. I have been in contact – polite contact, but still – WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER. I’ve talked to your work colleagues. I’ve seen family vacation photos. I have videos of YOUR FAMILY in MY EMAIL ACCOUNT. I can log in to things where you keep LOTS OF INFORMATION because I can just REQUEST PASSWORDS because YOU gave ME that access.

FIGURE. IT. OUT.

Should I be rearranging someone’s wedding registry? No. Of course I shouldn’t. But you shouldn’t be storing your crap in my space, either. I know there will be a lot of proponents of just ignore it, just delete it, just don’t mess with it, and for the most part, I do. But there are upwards of four or five OTHER MES out there, and they are treating a space that I own (“space” and “own”) as if it is theirs. And it’s not. It’s mine. It’s for me, and for my stuff, and it’s not for you or your stuff. You can’t put your stuff in my space. And you should not be putting your personal shit in a stranger’s space. I am a GOOD stranger. All I did was add ugly dishes and baby crap to a wedding registry. I am a GOOD stranger. A GOOD one. There are BAD ones, okay?

Now, if anyone can tell me anything more about Gmail and the intricacies of fname.lname/fnamelname account issues, and why a person may be SO VERY CONVINCED they own an account they can’t send mail to, cannot log into, and can in no way access at all, I am very, VERY open to hearing them. Explain the mystery to me. Because otherwise, I’m very glad I took my husband’s name, because all the other maiden name mes are just making it look no good.

PS – Should I text some of them? Because I admit it, I want to so badly. It would go like this. “Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!”

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88 Responses to “YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.”

  1. By Charleen on Jan 29, 2013

    Texting, honestly, might not be a terrible idea, although then they have YOUR phone number… so if you want to avoid that, maybe send a mass email to yourfirstname.yourlastname@EVERY.OTHER.EMAIL.HOST.EVER.com, and you might catch a few that way, if they’re just being spacey about what service they use. Although I’m still shocked that that many people could be that spacey.

  2. By Peregwyn on Jan 29, 2013

    Pretty sure the answer is that people are just stupid. Some of them are repeatedly so. I am also convinced that some people believe that they are actually alone in the world and everything belongs to them or should.

    Danell Reply:

    Yep. I think this is the problem, too. (At least, that’s the experience I’ve been having more and more often.)

  3. By Annabel Vita on Jan 29, 2013

    Urgh. I feel you. This sounds so annoying. Someone signed my email address up to some dating websites once, but nothing like this. When I was younger there was someone with the same full name as me that was a really similar age and came from the same place (we never met) but would write AWFUL sexy harry potter fan fiction, IN OUR NAME, and people thought it was me. Urgh.

  4. By The Tutugirl on Jan 29, 2013

    The truly ridiculous thing about this is I’m fairly certain that gmail doesn’t make a distinction between firstnamelastname and firstname.lastname. I email people mixing up the dots all the time and it doesn’t seem to affect their ability to receive the email. So these people aren’t forgetting a dot, they’re forgetting their usernames.

  5. By Becky on Jan 29, 2013

    There is another me who lives in the same metro area as me who was pregnant at the same time as me, and her mom kept sending me e-mails asking her/me about the pregnancy, and it was so weird. I was like WHO IS THIS LADY AND HOW DOES SHE KNOW I’M PREGNANT?!

    There is another me in Arkansas who signs up for stuff all the time. There is another me in Arizona who only signs up for stuff every once in a while.

    There are at least two other mes who live near me. One signed up for match.com using my e-mail address once. I have also received e-mails regarding her financial aid program at her school.

    One time I received someone’s MEDICAL RECORDS.

    WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE?!

  6. By Jaime on Jan 29, 2013

    That sounds incredibly complicated and frustrating. I mean, it’s not so complicated to use your own personal email address, but complicated to have to deal with a deluge of someone else’s crap who doesn’t know their own personal email address.

    The worst I get is spam asking me if I want to enlarge my penis.

    (Um, of course I do. Or I would. If I had one.)

  7. By Becky on Jan 29, 2013

    There is another me who lives in the same metro area as me who was pregnant at the same time as me, and her mom kept sending me e-mails asking her/me about the pregnancy, and it was so weird. I was like WHO IS THIS LADY AND HOW DOES SHE KNOW I’M PREGNANT?!

    There is another me in Arkansas who signs up for stuff all the time. There is another me in Arizona who only signs up for stuff every once in a while.

    There are at least two other mes who live near me. One signed up for match.com using my e-mail address once. I have also received e-mails regarding her financial aid program at her school.

    One time I received someone’s MEDICAL RECORDS.

    WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE?!

  8. By Corinne on Jan 29, 2013

    Hey, here’s a thought: These people all vote and procreate. Yippee!

  9. By Erin on Jan 29, 2013

    Your default response to the test emails should now be a link to this post.

    I have this too! I have cancelled other me’s orders of hair extensions and juice cleanses more times than I would think possible.

  10. By Julie on Jan 29, 2013

    I suspect people are confusing their display name with their actual user name. I would be astonished, but I’ve seen too many things like this to be surprised by the amount of “you’ve got to be kidding me” in the universe.

  11. By Danielle on Jan 29, 2013

    This is insane to me. I would think it’s bizarre if there was only one idiot using your email address (WITH THEIR CHILD’S TEACHER?), but SEVERAL? I can’t wrap my head around it.

  12. By Elle on Jan 29, 2013

    I feel your pain, to a lesser degree. I don’t get nearly as much as you, but I definitely get the occasional email. Wedding registries. Wedding consultation appointment confirmations. Swim team race timer sign-up and carpool group email. (Group emails when YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS are the devil.) And best of all, a family cruise confirmation.

    Ohh, to have shown up at the dock that day…

  13. By Alexa on Jan 29, 2013

    My mind is completely blown by this. Just…WHAT?

  14. By PinkieBling on Jan 29, 2013

    This phenomenon warps my brain so hard I can barely take it. HOW do people not GET this?

  15. By Melissa on Jan 29, 2013

    This does astonish me at some level. But, I’ve gotten phone calls from people who are insistent that THIS IS DAVE’S NUMBER, so the stupid isn’t limited to email. Seriously, if you can’t keep track of your own phone number or email address…do you at least know where you live?

    Suzanne Reply:

    I have two numbers saved in my phone as “DO NOT ANSWER” and “ASSHOLE WHO THINKS YOU ARE STEPHANIE” because they call me so often insisting I am not me. They aren’t misdials – they will call right back and insist some more – and they’ve been doing it for years now. I am baffled.

  16. By mjb on Jan 29, 2013

    My email (which you can see but isn’t published) is my first initial with a variant of my middle name + my (maiden) last initial. People commonly forget that last initial, or at least my aunt and mother have told me that a nice man named Martin owns that account. I don’t write down the wrong address, but obviously people have trouble reading and transcribing it. My guess is they have poor penmanship when filling out those little forms or people who enter them into the computer are lazy. There’s no excuse for things that you’ve obviously signed up for yourself online, but most store things are still using those little cards.

  17. By Kristina on Jan 29, 2013

    This is INSANE. Who could possibly be so oblivious?? I think I would notice right away that I just wasn’t getting emails I’d signed up to get. I would be really annoyed by this too. I think the only way someone this dense is going to get the picture is if you make it abundantly clear you have access to so much of their personal information. I’m thinking a text (although, as someone pointed out above, then they would have your number which would be bad) that says: I have your phone #, your address, your children’s information, etc. You need to contact me so I can pass all of this information on to you and YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ON EVERYTHING. Then copy the above paragraph that starts with: “THE REAL POINT OF ALL THIS IS” and then end with these words: “I am a GOOD stranger. A GOOD one. There are BAD ones, okay?”

    Re-reading that made me realize that it would be a really creepy text, but my god, how else are these people going to get the point??? And in the end, I think they would be grateful.

  18. By Lesley on Jan 29, 2013

    Sign up for a free Goo.gle Voice phone number, text the other Me from that number. Right from your Gmail. If she doesn’t respond and a change is made? No problem. Every.single.time you get spam/signed up, you text-blast her with “fun facts” about the new spam/subscription. See how that goes over.

  19. By Melissa on Jan 29, 2013

    I am surprised by nothing originating from the internet. People are morons. I think if it were me and I could get an address somehow I would probably write a paper letter explaining that THIS EMAIL IS NOT YOURS. PLEASE STOP PASSING IT OUT. Including also the things you’ve been able to do with it and maybe the other potential things you COULD have. Do not include your return address or name/etc..I am not convinced it would work, but I’d probably try.

    Melissa Reply:

    Oooo or fake an official gmail letter to that person if you could asking them to cease and desist. That might catch their attention :)

  20. By Kelly on Jan 29, 2013

    You are a much nicer Kelly than I am. Really. But I’m also slightly older, so perhaps it makes sense that I’ve added “vindictive” to my list of charming attributes in the past few years. There’s only so much stupid a person can absorb in their life before she wants to do awful, horrible, terrible things to stupid people. Ugly dishes and baby crap would have been the least of other me’s problem if I had this dilemma.

    I have no idea how to untangle the weird web of the Google Empire, but with the personal information you have on all the other yous, perhaps contacting each of them to explain they are not quite smart enough to be using email would work. For some of them. Mind you, this is the angel on my shoulder speaking, because it would not be my first choice of action. But that’s why you’re a much nicer Kelly than I am.

    Oddly, there are considerably more MyMarriedName Kellys out there than MyMaidenName Kellys. Perhaps I shouldn’t have changed my name after all. On the other hand, the MyMarriedName Kellys aren’t trying to horn in on my email address either. NOR AM I STEALING THEIRS! kelly.mymarriedname was already taken when I signed up for my Gmail account… so I politely used kelly.mymiddleinitial.mymarriedname instead.

    Yes, yes. Text them. Send them snail mail. Close their Sports Authority accounts. I suppose if you want to get super picky and highly technical about it, they’re fraudulently using your name and identity. They’re also really rude.

  21. By MegglesP on Jan 29, 2013

    When I got engaged, I snapped up my new MeganNewlastname@gmail.com and was shocked it wasn’t taken. Now I’m worried this kind of shit is going to happen to me.

    I can’t believe people can be so stupid.

  22. By Liz B. on Jan 29, 2013

    OH THANK GOD IT’S NOT JUST ME.

    There’s a me in Texas who works for Accounts Payable and I often see emails with account numbers on them.

    There’s a me in Florida whose children apparently go to a very nice private school and regularly are late returning their books to the library. (To be fair, I think she gave the correct address to the school’s list and the PTA member typing them in got it wrong and forgot the middle initial.)

    Twice, I’ve gotten people’s actual addresses. I’ve printed out those emails and snail-mailed the printouts to them, highlighting the email address and letting them know that they’re not getting their mail.

    It’s important to be nice about it, though. Sometimes these things are honest mistakes. My ex has a weird email address that is very easy to mis-remember. His doppleganger is a COMPLETE DICK about it when people do this, though. Like, he responded to a friend’s adoption update newsletter with an extremely long, involved, and explicit “I banged your mother” story. And he did not just respond to my friend; he hit Reply-All, thereby sending it to ALL her friends and family (…including her mother). Which would not make me feel sorry for having accidentally sent him mail intended for someone else; it makes me want to hunt him down and apply a baseball bat to his knees.

    Sam Reply:

    I’m guessing I shouldn’t be laughing my ass off right now. But I am. I’m sorry.

    Liz B. Reply:

    Oh, it’s funny NOW. It doesn’t make me care for the guy any more, though.

  23. By Brooke on Jan 29, 2013

    This post made me giggle more than you probably intended, but the thought of Annoyed and Devious Kelly adding baby junk to Oblivious Other Kelly’s wedding registry got me deep down in my evil little heart.

    I actually did not know that gmail doesn’t give a crap about the dots in usernames, but then I’ve never tried it. And I’m now suddenly glad that Brooke.Marriedname was taken and I had to add numbers to it.

  24. By Kara on Jan 29, 2013

    I have a very old Hotmail account that I don’t use (because, well Hotmail blows). But, I keep it because it’s my initial and last name with NO NUMBERS! But, a Kelly Keenan in Cleveland thinks that it’s her email. And I get evites sent there for her college reunions, from her realtor asking if she wants to view properties, invites to game nights, sympathy notes when her grandmother died,etc.

  25. By Holly on Jan 29, 2013

    Every year, other-me in UK signs up for some kind of group sport. I haven’t figured out whether it’s lacrosse or squash or cricket or some other random British what-what, but I get annoying reminders when other-me hasn’t paid dues or practice is rescheduled.

    I agree with people above who said to get a Google Voice account and text from it w/ each occurrence. I also agree that snail mail letters should be sent to each person, along the lines of what you have here (“Why am I mailing you? Well, you’ve given me all of this personal information and control over what to do with it. I could be a hacker and run up massive credit card debts. I could order you 10,000 pizzas or call you every time my kid wakes up in the middle of the night JUST BECAUSE I CAN until you figure out that YOU NEED TO USE YOUR OWN EMAIL ADDRESS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.”) I’d also reach out to Google proper (using their Help services) to see if they can’t help…

  26. By Delicia on Jan 29, 2013

    I didn’t even know this was A Thing, and now I’m once again reminded that there are majorly Stupid People in the world. Ugh. Texting will give them your info, perhaps calling if you have their phone number, with your Caller ID blocked?

  27. By Suki on Jan 29, 2013

    Reading this post and the comments reminds me that not having to deal with crap like this definitely balances out some of the annoyances of having an unusual name. Both my maiden and married last names are not particularly common and my first name is really unusual, so if I attempt to get my standard furst name last name user id and it’s taken, I know I must have already created a profile and then forgotten about it :)

  28. By Swistle on Jan 29, 2013

    I have a highly unusual name, and I STILL have one of these. Periodically it blows my mind afresh. The ones where I can’t unsubscribe without logging in make me CRAZY, almost literally make me go crazy. I have sent PAPER LETTERS to those places (okay, one paper letter, to one place), telling them what happened—not because I think anyone will open the letter and fix the issue, but BECAUSE IT MAKES ME THAT LEVEL OF CRAZY.

    I also got an email asking where Other Me wanted her commissions sent (for an Avon-type business she does). I thought it was spam at first, but it was not; she just let a stranger have the opportunity to say, “Ah, send that check to My Address, thx!” Instead I wrote back “Sorry, wrong email address!” Now I think I should have gotten the check, then mailed it to the correct address with a letter.

    Do not get me started about when our new phone number was someone’s old phone number. Did you know that many people seriously think the phone number is attached to a certain address? So that if you have someone’s old phone number, they think you also live at that person’s old house?

    Sister Reply:

    You’re joking about the part with the phone number being attached to an address, right?

    RIGHT?

    People just can’t be that stupid.

    Swistle Reply:

    *shakes head sadly* I wish I was. I wish I was.

    People would be like, “Well, where did they go?” and “Well, does Brian still live there?” NO. MY DEARS. We have THEIR OLD PHONE NUMBER. We don’t LIVE IN THEIR OLD HOUSE. We don’t KNOW THEM AT ALL. They would persist: “Well, can you pass along a message?” NO. NO I CANNOT. BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW THOSE PEOPLE. “SIGH. Well, what’s their new number?” OMG. LISTEN AS I GO OVER THIS AGAIN FOR YOU.

    Oh, I have another phone story: a woman insisting I must be the bank, because she called the bank’s number and got me. LADY. I AM NOT SITTING AT A BANK DESK LYING TO YOU ABOUT BEING THE BANK.

    Suki Reply:

    My friend’ got a phone number used to belong to an, um, “escort” and she would just get the worst calls and messages, and at all hours, as you might imagine. This was when more people had home lines, and we joked about calling back during the day, asking for the wife, and letting her know what her husband had been up to. We never actually did it though, and eventually the calls tapered off.

    Melissa Reply:

    My direct line at work is being used by someone with extremely bad credit and poor choices in how she spends her money. I cannot even tell you how many people I have had to emphatically insist I am NOT Rhonda Jackson. And then? Debt collectors don’t believe me! My voicemail box is full after every weekend.

    Scanderoon Reply:

    For the brief time that I had my own landline, I would get a lot of wrong-number messages for a doctor. I never could figure out how “Hi, you’ve reached Lindsay, leave a message” could be mistaken for a doctor’s office. Eventually I had to change my message to “Hi, you’ve reached Lindsay. If you’re looking for Dr. Whatsisname, please check your number and try again. If not, leave a message.” That helped a bit.

    I did feel bad for the old guy who left a bunch of messages that I didn’t hear til after I got back from Christmas holidays. But he just gave his name, so I couldn’t phone him back! Maybe he figured it out.

  29. By Melissa H on Jan 29, 2013

    You have their phone number, forget texting I would CALL them. That should be a wake up call, right? a CALL from someone who got your number and other personal via email?

    I also think that it’s sometimes the fault of the PTA rep or whoever typing addresses wrong. this happened to a friend of mine so some poor sap with the email PotPower at yahoo got random carpool info. PotPower. Ha, someone has that email. Her email is P of Power

    Alex Reply:

    I’m with Melissa – my first thought was that if you have their number you should call them. Hearing a voice vs. reading some text is a bit more powerful. Sounds like this Other Kelly needs a bit more prodding to understand how serious (and nutty!) the situation is.

    Chris Reply:

    I agree with these guys. You can easily create a throwaway gmail and google voice number to call from. I use to get a email for a guy thats lastname is silimar to mine only spelled with a y instead of a i. No other variation just the swapping of the i and y. Same first and middle name his birthday is the same as mine but ten years younger.

    Finally I managed to convince one of his friends to have him contact me via gtalk. We had couple laughs and then he sent a mass email to tell people to learn to spell his name and quit bugging this poor guy with a similar name.

  30. By beylit on Jan 29, 2013

    I think I own myname@gmail but I can’t remember. I think I snatched it up when I was getting married so that I could use it as a professional email, since beylit isn’t all that professional. Thing is I never used it and forgot it existed, so I have no idea if I would have this problem or not.

    That being said, it absolutely boggles my mind that anyone could not know their own email addresses to that extent. I mean seriously? Grandparents sending something to the wrong email is one thing, but signing yourself up for things with the wrong email repeatedly? Yea that is a level of stupid I even find staggering.

    I would text them through an online text service or a google number and tell them that they obviously have no idea how this whole internet and email thing works and they desperately need to figure out their email address. That is so very crazy. You would think after their kids teacher came back to them and said umm so this total stranger responded to your emails, that you would figure it out.

  31. By Jackie on Jan 29, 2013

    I have one (possibly more) of these mes giving out my email but nothing like what you’re going through. Mostly missed job opportunities (which may be spam anyway), a newsletter here and there and a few, “Let’s meet this Saturday!” personal emails. I too have replied and received no response and I just don’t understand. Why, don’t they reply and say anything?? A sorry or something?? Crazy!

    We had the same situation as Swistle with the phone number. No, Tamara Green doesn’t live here…I don’t care if this used to be her phone number, it’s not now…no, she didn’t ever live HERE….nope, that is not my address…OMG, phone numbers travel people!!

  32. By Steph on Jan 29, 2013

    I am having a very, very hard time figuring this out. I guess it could be, like someone else said, that they have poor penmanship and people can’t read their writing. But a lot of the store coupon email lists are given verbally–like when you are checking out! HOW does this happen? I just really cannot fathom giving my child’s teacher an email address that is not mine. Or family members. Or work people. Or…well okay, I freeze and am incapable of doing the throwaway email address thing too. Since each of your other mes does this multiple times, it has to be on purpose, right? I just…quite literally (and I do mean that) cannot figure this out.

    I also think you should text them or paper mail them something with a list of all the personal identifications you know about them and ask them to please stop it. Some form of contact so they know that this is not harmless (in case they are thinking all those other emails just go off into undeliverable google space or whatever).

    Oh dear. My brow is furrowed, puzzling over this. Both the how and the why.

  33. By Veronica on Jan 29, 2013

    While reading this, I just kept going back and forth in my mind from “NO. No. There’s no way that this is possible! This HAPPENS?!?!?” to “Oh, yeah, that makes sense, because people are STUPID.”

    But seriously … people DO this? HOW?!!?!!

  34. By Elizabeth on Jan 29, 2013

    Oh my word. That is so much worse than my situation! There’s some man in Maryland who uses my email address to sign up for all sorts of nonsense. I used to think he was using it as a throw away address until I started receiving his flight itineraries. His/our last name is rare enough that I’ve been able to find out his home address, but am too lazy and nonconfrontational to actually contact him about it.

  35. By Aleks on Jan 29, 2013

    I actually accidentally wrote down the wrong email address this past weekend at a preschool open house (used my yahoo username w/ gmail.com, I blame jetlag and pregnancy brain), but I can’t imagine doing it over and over and over again.

    One thing I’m perplexed by is that when I tried to get a gmail account that was my uncommon first name plus common last name, it was taken. Who are you, other me?? So I added my middle initial and now it’s stupidly complicated so I still mostly use my maiden name one. Still even with three email addresses used for various purposes, I know my own email address!

  36. By *Katie on Jan 29, 2013

    YES!! I am so frustrated with this. This exact thing has been going on with my email for at least the past 2-3 years (and I’ve had my gmail acct since 04-05 as well!) I’ve tried telling multiple people about the issue, but they don’t believe me, and never have any advice for me.

    I’ve received family photos, emails from kindly grandparents, rental agreements for vacation homes, cell phone account registrations, gym membership accounts, MORTGAGE DOCUMENTS(complete with SSNs) the list goes on and on and on. So far there are at least 2 other mes (Georgia and California) creating this whole mess. At first I would politely reply, letting the sender know they had the wrong email, but then I was just getting annoyed and sarcastically thanking the sender for sending me all that ultra personal information and suggested that they try contacting the person in question using a different method.

    Gah! So frustrating! Hopefully we find out some way to make it stop!! Good luck with it in the meantime, you seem to be a lot more patient with it than I am!

  37. By Rachael on Jan 29, 2013

    TJ:

    You are not alone. I also have half a dozen or so other-me’s. I’ve gotten everything from explicit photographs, to “we’re sorry to tell you grandma died” (over email?!?) to “you’re not welcome at our house anymore”. I get signed up for dating sites, for forum accounts, mailing lists from here to timbuktu. I got copies of a disability form from a law-firm once.

    My general tact is pretty much what you do, a polite reply (I usually reply-all for a bit of public shaming), that this isn’t ACTUALLY the Rachael you’re looking for, please check again.

    I end up w/ people’s full address pretty frequently. I have contemplated getting a set of post-cards printed up to mail to people telling them “you’re using the wrong email address, please, dear god, stop!”

    I’ve had to delete two online dating accounts, to date, and had a whole argument with the sys-admin of a gay porn site about whether or not he could remove my identity from his user registration. I’ve had other-me’s react VERY badly to being corrected.

    In short, it REALLY sucks. I feel your pain. If you get any amazing advice, I’d love to see you follow-up post on it!!

  38. By Sister on Jan 29, 2013

    YES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TEXT THOSE MORONS

  39. By Dr. Maureen on Jan 29, 2013

    This happens to me once in a while. Someone in Ireland has booked a few flights with my email, and there is a 5th grade parent in California who was possibly trying to get out of helping out with class things. I was on a group emailing list about “Parents organization meeting!” or something, so I thought maybe it *was* for me, but then it made no sense. I did some Googling and deduced it was for a school in California, so I emailed and asked to be taken off the list. Received a reply, “This list is for *all* parents of fifth graders,” with “you shirker” implied. I had to write back and explain that that was all well and good, but I am not a parent of a fifth grader, and also I live 3000 miles away, so I will not be attending the bake sale meeting.

    My husband has a more common name and gets many more of these things, sometimes with extremely personal information such as medical records.

    Laura Reply:

    This is the kind of thing that causes me “anxiety by proxy.” I’ve had this happen and then spent nights NOT sleeping because I’m worried about the other person missing their flight/not getting a home loan. I finally deleted my account because I couldn’t take the pressure of someone ELSE messing up their life.

  40. By Say Rah on Jan 29, 2013

    I took my husband’s name which I think is fairly uncommon given I’ve heard the story about how the spelling came about. Anyway, I get a lot of emails from a very distant relative of his (as in they do not know of my husband or his family, but I spent some time researching the genealogy they are definitely related). Anyway, the emails are VERY PERSONAL. How the estate will be divided, life insurance policies, along with pictures, chit chat stuff, etc. I feel bad that I’ve never said, “sorry, I don’t actually know you people”, but I’m nosy by nature and consider each erroneous email a treat. But yes, your situation sounds MUCH WORSE!

  41. By Halloweenlover on Jan 29, 2013

    This is crazy. Totally nuts.

    I have a woman who took my first initial last name PHD@gmail.com and I am constantly getting emails from her friends and family. Worse, she is a professor and her students constantly email me too. Long winding email chains with 80 responses. She has apologized before, and I am fairly nice, but so so so irritating. Even her own kids sometimes email me.

    The worst, one time I sent josh an email in college basically telling him never to call me or talk to me again. It was this horrible email, and I sent it to josh@yahoo instead of josh@hotmail! In the interim, we made up and then a week later other josh emailed me from Australia to say he was very sorry and could I please give josh another chance. Haaaa!

  42. By Liz on Jan 29, 2013

    Ohhhhh this whole issue is really mind-boggling to me. I signed up for Gmail forever ago too, using my first initial and (common) last name. Biiiiiiig mistake! On top of all of the uncomfortable personal stuff, I’ve had people sign up for Amazon accounts with it (helloooo credit card info!), file their tax returns with it, and even had people send money to my darn Paypal account!!!! I mean, if someone were going to send you $600 on Paypal, wouldn’t you double-check that you were giving them the right email address?! Or say thanks when I very kindly refunded your money?? Now I do kinda wish that someone would start a registry of some sort with it just for the entertainment value…

  43. By Melissa on Jan 29, 2013

    This is blowing my mind. I thought you had ONE Other Kelly, but you have many & it’s happening to all these other people too?! How are there so many people out there like this? It boggles.

  44. By cakeburnette on Jan 29, 2013

    I do believe this is the most entertaining thing I’ve read in quite a while. I’m very sorry you are being bombarded by idiots, but boy did it make my day to read about it.

  45. By Carolyn on Jan 29, 2013

    Ooh, yeah, I vote for calling or texting the actual other person and saying, “Look, I have your very personal contact information because you keep using the wrong email address. You need to set up a new email address, because the one you keep using is actually sending me all the information I’d need to open a credit card account in your name and forward the bills to you. I’m a good person and don’t plan on doing that, but you shouldn’t keep using an email address that clearly isn’t sending emails to you!”

  46. By Erin on Jan 29, 2013

    Absolutely text them. You can download texting apps for the iPad (since all iPads have a number attached to them) that would allow you to text without giving a stranger your actual phone number, if you’re concerned about that.

    This whole story just reminds me of the poor woman who got the 40-person sex email because one of our friends accidentally told me her email was ericamarriedlastname instead of ericamaidenname. I’m still a bit annoyed that woman never replied to my apology. It would have made a good story if she’d replied and asked to be put back on the chain.

  47. By Wendy on Jan 29, 2013

    I confess, I have been that idiot a few times. I have my personal gmail which is firstmiddlelast@gmail and I have my work email which is firstinitiallastname@work. I know that there have been one or two times that I’ve listed firstinitallastname@gmail as my address and discovered when the other me let me know. I was mortified and have tried to double check to make sure I never do that again, so I can kind of understand how it happens once or twice.

    But all the time? No.

  48. By Jade on Jan 29, 2013

    I don’t necessarily have another me. I have another person with the same first name and different last name using my email as her sign-up email. Guess what? I now have a shiny new Twitter account and one of her friends has already sent her a message saying, “What is up?” Then again, I’m not sure her friend said it that way since the “other me” is an 11 year old girl in Louisiana. Most sites are great at unsubscribing you if you send an email to customer service or something. Except Playstation, because they are too dumb to understand that when I say, “firstname.lastname@gmail.com is the same as firstnamelastname@gmail.com” means I can’t necessarily EMAIL THEM FROM THE LATTER. *headdesk*

    Anyway, I like my new Twitter account. Next week I’m going to delete all her friends, change the username and use it to Tweet about random things. On second thought, I might keep her friends around. It might teach her a lesson not to mess with me.

  49. By Jesabes on Jan 29, 2013

    For one thing, that “the period doesn’t matter” thing is relatively new and one of the other Kelly’s might have actually had the same email address if you make them irrelevant. My brother-in-law has the email address eric.a.lastname. When they instituted that change, the owner of erica.lastname lost her email address (because he had signed up for his first, way back when). He still gets emails for her. I’m sure gmail had some sort of solution that mostly worked for transferring her account, but something always falls through the cracks.

    Also, Jessica.MyLastName was taken when I joined gmail, so I reversed them – MyLastName.Jessica. Except sometimes I would forget. Because my hotmail account WAS FName.LName. Sorry, other Jessica. I didn’t do it much, though, because I always figured out instantly that whatever was supposed to be going to my email wasn’t and fixed it.

    (To add to the confusion, when I got married Jessica.NewLastName WAS available, so I do have that. Too many email addresses!)

  50. By Jessica on Jan 29, 2013

    This happens to me, too. Except they all seem to be old. And dumb. And thank God they’re old because I don’t get signed up for nearly as much weird stuff as I would if they knew how to use the internet.

  51. By Hannah on Jan 29, 2013

    I would definitely text (or call so you can block your number) the ones for whom you have numbers and tell them, “Hey. Your shit. My space. Stop.”

  52. By Suzanne on Jan 29, 2013

    This reminded me that I had tried to get FirstnameMarriedname@gmail.com but it was taken so I used FirstnameMiddleInitialMarriedname, although I only have it for when I am embarrassed to use my blog email or my ancient hotmail account that sounds like porn spam. I haven’t checked the account in AGES but now I am going to and home for lots of other mes juicy email secrets.

    (Update: No secrets. Just lots of stupid newsletters.)

  53. By Carrie on Jan 29, 2013

    I got lucky and got carriep@gmail.com as my e-mail address.

    NOT SO LUCKY.

    Every Carrie P. in the universe uses that e-mail so I have had to abandon it. I would totally call those idiots up and read them the riot act if it was only a few and it would do any good. I seriously do not comprehend why they are giving out your e-mail to people they want to hear from. My brain just. . . dies.

  54. By craftyashley on Jan 29, 2013

    FOUR people?! That is crazy. I have two email accts, one that I give to people I want to talk to, and my spam email that I give to the bed bath and beyond people. But I OWN both accounts! How hard is it to figure out email? Insane.

  55. By phancymama on Jan 29, 2013

    In college, I had the same name (minus an “e”, think Browne vs Brown) as one of the nurse practitioner’s in the student health center. Our emails were different, univ.edu vs univhealth.edu, and we were in totally different directories. And still I got phone calls and emails from students wondering about their health test results–typically those of a very personal nature. Left on our dorm room phone!

  56. By Jenny on Jan 29, 2013

    Just chiming in with a “me too”–although not on the scale some of you are experiencing, I must say. I thought my last name was fairly unusual–heck, nobody pronounces it right–but preceded with J, it seems to be common as dirt. I got somebody’s U-haul arrangements once. Thanks for addressing this–maybe Google will do something about it!

  57. By Issa on Jan 29, 2013

    I have tears rolling down my face from the baby items on the wedding registry line. Cannot stop laughing.

    As someone with a very very very common first, middle and last name (three me’s at my pharmacy for crying out loud) I am with you. I get emails all the freaking time that do not belong to me. I feel like I unsubscribe to Land’s End about three times a day.

    You still win for the baby items. Heh.

  58. By JCF on Jan 29, 2013

    This is a good reminder why having an extremely unusual first and maiden name is helpful at times. However, my husband has a very common first name and a decently common last name, and he has a big problem with this. I’ll make up a new name, but the gist is that his email address us james.smith@gmail.com, and someone else uses jamesssmith@gmail.com (note that there’s a THIRD s–for a middle initial stuck between james and smith. This guy signs up for so much crap with my husband’s email it is unbelievable. My husband has the guy’s full name, address, SSN, phone number, etc. He has seen bank account numbers. He has seen the guy’s resume. I keep telling him to mail the guy a physical letter, but he hasn’t yet. The guy was applying for a job at a big company that required him to set up an account for his application process, and it was linked to my husband’s email address. I mean, how much of an idiot can you be? And the guy is fairly young and a lawyer, so he’s got to be generally functional, at least a little bit, right?

  59. By Christine on Jan 29, 2013

    This has been happening to me on my gmail account for the past 4 years or so. I get the most personal emails, recently about the rapid decline of an elderly family member. It’s in excruciating detail.

    More interestingly I get the emails for a Beverly Hill Realtor with the same name as me. She gets the best emails. I could easily rip off some multimillionaires as I have their account numbers, signatures, SSN and various other pieces of their person information. Who sends this stuff to a gmail account?

    Same Realtor hosted a birthday party for her sister. With a $60,000 price tag. That’s not a typo. Sixty thousand dollars. I saved the email and spreadsheet because, holy shit, that’s as close as I’m ever going to get to a party like that.

    On a brighter note I have “met” a lovely woman from North Carolina that is also very into hockey (I’m from the great white north).

    I had no idea my name was so common.

  60. By stephanie on Jan 29, 2013

    I so feel your pain. I have been dealing with Stephanie LastNames who do not know their email address for years. (I, too, had an invite-only gmail account.) I’m not as polite as you… my standard response is just, “This was sent to the wrong email address.” I’ve gotten emails from kids’ teachers, from other me’s professors and classmates, from family members with photos, a damn church group that refuses to take me off their list no matter how many times I tell them I’m really not the person they want, from really stupid friends who cannot understand how I can email them from that address if it’s the wrong one. I’ve gotten flight confirmations. I’ve cancelled Instagram and Facebook and Twitter accounts. I get someone’s paystub EVERY DAMN WEEK, only there’s no email address to respond to and the actual paystub is (thankfully) locked, which only means I can’t even find out the company that’s sending it to let them know. I totally called a different company out for mailing me someone else’s tax forms, complete with address and bank info and SSN.

    Ugh, anyway, I could go on about this forever. Obviously.

    I have figured out that the main culprit is there’s usually supposed to be a middle initial between FirstNameLastName that gets left out, or sometimes a number at the end. Still, that’s not a good explanation for when the individual fills out the form herself!

  61. By FrozenLaser on Jan 29, 2013

    HA! I laughed so hard I thought I’d cried! No seriously, I have the same problems as you. There are Me’s all over the world. I have receeved emails for, and I kid you not, Requests to do Cardiology lectures in Chicago, warnings about late rent FROM NEW ZEALAND, transmitted account numbers from England, poverty humanitarian mission confirmations in southern Africa, technical lighting advice requests from New York Theater companies, and oh yes the often needed car service updates from Toyota in North Carolina. One would think I’m a Jet Setter or something, but no, just a boring Laser Engineer in the north east. I really wish people would work out why it is they never get the coupons in their email like they asked for and just leave the rest of us boring people who know our email addresses the heck alone.

  62. By Celie on Jan 29, 2013

    I think between your post and all these replies and comments that you have a small book to write! Great style in your writing… Definitely do a follow up post of what you have done that might be making a difference. Cheers!

  63. By Kate on Jan 29, 2013

    I have exactly the same problem and it’s super irritating. I get all kinds of emails, often personal or important, from all over the world. WTF?

    Anyway, sometimes I call the doctor/store/whatever and tell them to disassociate my email address with the account. Sometimes I email the friends/associates/colleagues/wedding planning party and say this is not that Kate.

    And one time, I texted the person, because I had her phone number, and that was highly unsatisfying because she spent a long time on the “who are you” part of the conversation, and was completely unapologetic, and then asked me to forward her the relevant emails since she couldn’t see them.

  64. By Hayley on Jan 29, 2013

    “I WISH YOU COULD PENGUIN” should be on a T-shirt or something.

  65. By Cheryl on Jan 29, 2013

    Happened with my work email – I use firstname.lastname@company.com. Other “me” uses her middle initial, since I started with company first. I have gotten her email for a couple of years now – and some of it was so, so personal – she was not disclosing her investments outside of company (we work for a major bank), she was not performing up to her expected levels, she was not completing projects on time, and then she was fired. I got to see all that – and I sent many, many return emails to the originators, and to the other “me”, explaining the different name set-up. No one ever apologized for letting me see these emails, and requests for assistance from our IT department were ignored. Sad that I had to see all that, but we never met face to face as we work on opposite sides of the country. Don’t know if we could have looked each other in the eye if we had met. I really feel everyone’s pain!!!

  66. By Dinsdale on Jan 29, 2013

    I’ve received emails about job interviews for a woman in London, a number of family photos of various birthdays, resumes, and (most excruciating of all) an email asking Other Me to testify in court about someone’s rehab so she could get her kids back. (I don’t usually respond, but did to that one, because lordie, I was NOT going to be responsible for someone losing their kids. Could you imagine?)

    I’m slightly concerned now, though, because my email is FirstInitialMiddleInitialLastName@gmail.com, and I’m wondering how many people have emailed FirstInitialLastName with my info instead. (Not that I GIVE OUT the wrong email address, but this thread has shown me people are UNIMAGINABLY stupid.)

  67. By Amy on Jan 30, 2013

    My mom’s phone number was one digit off of a hair salon’s number. After umpteen calls from salon patrons, she started giving out appointments.

    My brother-in-law had a similar situation in which he started accepting pizza orders.

  68. By shin ae on Jan 30, 2013

    I haven’t read the comments on this, and I’m excited to read through them all, but for now I want to say: GOOD GRIEF. This situation is ridiculous. I hope someone has a good suggestion for you.

  69. By TC on Jan 30, 2013

    I wish I had a solution for you. I really, really do, because I have a last name that is only a little less common than say, smith, and only an initial before it. So my chances of having an idiot think they have this address are significantly increased.

    I recently apparently signed up for blackpeoplemeet.com, while I’m not opposed to meeting people of any race, I’m not sure this is how to get more diversity in my life.

    I’m also getting a satellite dish installed this weekend at my home in Kalamazoo, which I never knew I had.

    My favorite thing is when someone signs up for a NEW gmail account and uses this in the other email addresses list… I think they believe that they’re getting that address as well, when they’re giving me access to their account.

    I used to send a lot of frustrated ‘test failed’ to those ‘test’ messages, but I’ve pretty much given up.

    I did have a father convinced once that his son was imbibing on quite a lot of alcohol and illicit substances before deciding to come home. He was quite upset… I hope he was relieved when I told him his son wasn’t really driving high and drunk (oh, and texting), just to stupid to know his own email address. I’m not sure which would disappoint me more though.

    I guess just resign yourself to the fact that your email will be filled with crap from morons. Or switch email addresses, which I’m loathe to do, because it’s a pain, and i really like mine.

  70. By Cherie Beyond on Jan 30, 2013

    Wow. I have never been more grateful to have an somewhat uncommon first and unbelievably uncommon last name. According to Google I am the only one of me that exists, which is a boon for stalkers but certainly keeps this situation to a minimum. (My email is firstinitial,lastname, so I get a few missent emails, but it’s pretty rare.)

    My husband has very common first and last names and it has led to many foibles, including being denied a rental car because of someone else’s shabby driving and almost being arrested for burglary. That was exciting.

  71. By Scanderoon on Jan 31, 2013

    Man, I am so glad I have an uncommon last name! I’ll have to be careful if I ever marry someone with a common one, because there are an awful lot of Lindsays around.

    It’s such an exasperating problem for you, because there’s no real way to fix it!

  72. By rebecca on Jan 31, 2013

    I have an extremely common last name, and I once had another me pick up my prescription accidentally! She may have been very disappointed it was merely prenatal vitamins. (I switched pharmacies, to a place that also needs your DOB.)

  73. By velocibadgergirl on Feb 3, 2013

    I love that you added ugly shit to the wedding registry. Nice? Maybe not. Hilarious? Hell yes. Deserved? Probably. I’d be annoyed as shit if other mes started handing out my email!

  74. By Jenny Grace on Feb 8, 2013

    I have a VERY COMMON NAME. So common that even though I have been on the internet simply FOREVER, it had to have been like, an actual google employee who got my firstnamelastname email address.

    So I don’t have this exact problem, ever.

    However, the commonness of my name means that I have TWICE been MERGED WITH OTHER MES in credit reports (no, I have never been married, I don’t live in Oregon, and don’t you have a control in place to keep MULTIPLE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS FROM BEING ASSIGNED TO ONE PERSON?). Also, there is another me at my dentist. And a me who uses my pharmacy.

    My dad had another him who had a warrant out for his arrest, and they had the same name down to middle initial, same basic physical description (height, hair color, etc), and same birth date. Except the guy who wasn’t my dad was a car thief. And my dad spent my sister’s high school graduation pulled into the police department for finger printing and such. And now he carries a letter in his car specifying that he is not the (still at large) car thief guy.

  75. By Mary on Feb 15, 2013

    Thank you for this post. Thanks to you, I finally un-lazied enough to email back the man who has been sending me emails for years thinking I am his son.

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