Random geekery since 2005.

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Do You Know Your Email Address?

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I had, without question, the strangest conversation I’ve ever had today.  It fundamentally makes me head hurt to think about it.  It reminds me of a bit from the comedian Lewis Black, where he was consumed by something he heard a woman say in a coffee shop: “If it hadn’t been for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college!”

Anyways, this is a completely real story that happened no more than an hour ago.  I wanted to record this exchange while it was still fresh.


I have a Gmail address that I never use, but it’s only my last name, so I’ve held on to it.  It forwards all of its mail to my primary email address, so I still receive all of the messages.  For several years, I occasionally will get strange registration emails to this address for websites like Amazon, Best Buy, SoundCloud, and others.  I’ve never been able to reach out to the person, however, because the only contact information they provided was MY email address.

Today, I received a registration email from Netflix, registered to that email address.  And then I got another message that they needed to confirm my phone number.


When I clicked on the link, it showed me the entire phone number of the person.  This was the first time that I had a way to contact this foolish person registering accounts with my email address!!

So I decided to text this person, in the off-chance it was a mobile phone.  Maybe I could figure out what the problem was!  The following is a completely unedited text exchange between me and this person.



Amazing, right?

Wrap Up

You may have noticed that I had the names of two people that had been registering accounts with my email address.  And she knew the other person, because it’s her cousin.

THIS MEANS THEY BOTH THINK THEIR EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE MY EMAIL ADDRESS!  This also, somehow, means that they both think they have the same email address.  I’m betting they’ve never discussed this, but I would love love love to hear her tell this story to her family tonight.

Just thought I should share!

P.S.  Did she say her grandpa brother?  Does she have a brother that is also somehow her grandpa?  This might offer a real explanation for this whole ordeal.


6 responses to “Do You Know Your Email Address?”

  1. Eric Burke Avatar
    Eric Burke

    Amazing. You can’t make this stuff up.

    I have ****@yahoo.com and I get all sorts of emails meant for other people. Sometimes I reply to the thread. It’s super fun.

  2. sadukie Avatar

    She did mention Michigan…. that could explain a lot of the oddities!

  3. Jake L. Willis Avatar

    As an early adopter of gmail, I got jake.willis@gmail.com, much to the chagrin of the other Jake Willis-named folks who use my email to order pizza, video game packages, shop for apartments, sign up for instagram, etc. I have people hijacking my email from all over the US, Australia, the UK and Canada.

  4. Dean Weber Avatar
    Dean Weber

    I keep getting my email used by some other Dean Weber that signs up for agriculture newsletters. It’s either that or my coworkers are pranking me. I doubt the later because it would be something more asinine if it were them.

  5. Matt Casto Avatar
    Matt Casto

    Grandpa brother is first cousin to Uncle Grandpa.

    I’ve gotten so many emails from other people using my email address to register for things all over the US. I suppose its because its just my first and last name without any other characters or numbers. Its sometimes annoying and other times fun to play with them. Mostly I just shake my head in disbelief.

  6. Paul Wheeler (@paulwheeler) Avatar

    I get registration emails to my name at gmail all the time from other people. Sometimes I go in and delete the account they create, and then they just go and create another. Never got a mobile number though. Drives me crazy.

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