One of the blog posts I stumbled upon in my archive cleanup was from June 2004 when I was rejoicing that I had finally gotten a Gmail invite. Everyone was talking about Gmail back then, but it was still in beta so you had to be invited and when I got my invite I also got 5 invites to send and I gave one back to myself (I needed two emails) and one to my husband. This fact…that we signed up for gmail back when it was still in beta…is why we both deal with way more spam than the average user.
You see? We both claimed variations of our names/initials and since we both have very common names with very common initials, hundreds of people every month use our email addresses to sign up for stuff. Sometimes it’s benign newsletters, but a lot of times it’s dating sites. I don’t if it’s because people like to lie about their emails on datings sites or what, this is what I woke up to in my inbox this morning…on Valentine’s Day.
UGGG. And if you notice the Nissan payment email in the middle of all of those dating site messages, I need to point out: THAT IS NOT MINE EITHER. So people are also using the wrong email address for important things like car payments. And for the record? Almost ALL of that stuff I could take over if I wanted because most websites only require an email address to reset a password. Which I have done on a few occasions when I wanted to claim my account on a service using my own damn email.
Now…if we had signed up for gmail when most of the world was, the chances of us getting our very easy emails with our very common names would have been rare. OR, if we had actually used our FULL names, instead of letter/name combinations, maybe not as many people would be using our email addresses but we BOTH made the fatal error of doing a letter/name combination and we deal with this kind of stuff ALL THE TIME.
I actually had to deal with PayPal once because someone signed up for a PayPal account using my email and I was getting these weird email receipts for p0rn purchases and I was worried it might not be legal (often times people use the wrong email ON PURPOSE) and let me tell you…IT WAS A PAIN IN THE ASS TO GET THAT CHANGED. It should have been easy to be like: I DO NOT WANT MY NAME ASSOCIATED WITH THESE PURCHASES but it was not.
But…I’ve used this email for 16 years now so changing it would be too much at this point. I mean, sometime I consider changing it…because this is all really frustrating, but I think it would not end up making my life simpler in the long run.
Please don’t use “fake” emails for things, okay? There are people on the other end of those and you’re making their life HELL.