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Stop using my email address, whoever you are!!!
May 21, 2012 10:42 AM   Subscribe

My email address being used by someone on bn.com (Barnes and Noble)...

Received three seperate emails back in January from Barnes and Noble regarding three recent purchases. Unfortunately, I haven't ordered anything from bn.com. So, I contacted bn.com support and asked them what to do, because I thought they possibly had a bogus purchase on their hands. The support person said they'd send a note to the end-user and ask them to verify/change their email address since it wasn't theirs.

Now, since I still receive Nook emails from bn.com, I've called the support line again, and was told that the email was sent, but no action had been taken. PLUS, this time, the support person said they weren't ALLOWED to request of someone to change their email address...even suggesting perhaps gmail gave out identical email addresses to two people 'accidentaly'. Oy.

If they don't want to acknowledge the fact they have a bogus purchase on their hands...fine. But, I would like the 'customer to stop using my email address...and I'd like to use my email address in the future on this site...possibly.

What can I do!? How can I get eyes on this?

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance, mefites!
posted by littleredwagon to Shopping (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a little confused, if they're using your email address, wouldn't you have received the note bn support sent to the end user?

Anyway, the simple way would be go to to bn.com's password reset page and request a password reset token to be sent to your email address. Then just set a new password that only you know.

Once in, you can either delete the account, or just let it sit there idle.
posted by Static Vagabond at 10:49 AM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Email abuse@bn.com. Say you're getting spammed by automated emails and don't have a business relationship with bn.com, and you want them to cease and desist.

This normally works like a charm for all but the shadiest of vendors.
posted by bfranklin at 10:49 AM on May 21, 2012


Request a password reset so you can access the account information (there's a "Forgot password?" link on the sign in screen). Log in to BN.com using the new password you've created. Check out whatever shipping addresses or other personal information the other person has added to their account. Use that to track down their phone number (assuming it isn't already in the account!) and call them. Or just shut everything down.
posted by bcwinters at 10:50 AM on May 21, 2012


If the email address they have for the customer is your email address, how did they plan to email the customer to tell them to change their email address?

Is your email address firstname.lastname@gmail.com? or something similar you could try email different variations to see if you can find the correct person.

Or you could reset the password on the account so that you can access it, from there you might be able to find more details of the correct owner of the account (eg. phone number or address) so you can contact them and let them know.
posted by missmagenta at 10:51 AM on May 21, 2012


When I attempt to reset the password, it asks a security question regarding my birthplace. It's not correct, so I can't change the password.
posted by littleredwagon at 10:53 AM on May 21, 2012


Can you keep putting in the incorrect password until B&N locks down the account? Do this enough times and the account holder should eventually realize something is wrong, although I question the deductive reasoning of someone who hasn't even noticed that their active account has the incorrect email address.
posted by elizardbits at 10:56 AM on May 21, 2012


happened to me with netflix. The good thing ? netflix had a phone support # to call. I saw the dudes list of movies he was ordering etc, so I figured resetting the PW would be a bad idea.
posted by k5.user at 11:01 AM on May 21, 2012


although I question the deductive reasoning of someone who hasn't even noticed that their active account has the incorrect email address.

This is why I think these purchases were bogus and my email address was used. I've even been notified of an expired credit card on this account.
posted by littleredwagon at 11:06 AM on May 21, 2012


happened to me with netflix. The good thing ? netflix had a phone support # to call. I saw the dudes list of movies he was ordering etc, so I figured resetting the PW would be a bad idea.

Unfortunately, Barnes and Noble folks don't seem to care.

Can you keep putting in the incorrect password until B&N locks down the account? Do this enough times and the account holder should eventually realize something is wrong

I get the emails. They haven't ordered anything since January. 3 separate purchases of Afrikaans language books for Nook.
posted by littleredwagon at 11:10 AM on May 21, 2012


I suspect this is a phishing scam. It's very difficult to sign up for any service these days without verifying the account over email.

When you hover over the links in your email, can you verify that they are, in fact, going to B&N? Not the text of the link, but the actual location? My stepmother was asking me about a similar email she got from "Amazon" the other about an order, but the links all went to somewhere you'd never want to click.

Either way, resetting the password and accessing the account that way should work.
posted by mkultra at 11:14 AM on May 21, 2012


I'd just click "spam". Presto, you don't see the emails again.

I give it a shot when I get similar emails for the first one or two, then just relegate them to the junk drawer.
posted by arnicae at 11:15 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


When you hover over the links in your email, can you verify that they are, in fact, going to B&N? Not the text of the link, but the actual location? My stepmother was asking me about a similar email she got from "Amazon" the other about an order, but the links all went to somewhere you'd never want to click.

Looks legit to me.

I'd just click "spam". Presto, you don't see the emails again.

I give it a shot when I get similar emails for the first one or two, then just relegate them to the junk drawer.


I'm fine with this, but I'm pissed I can't use my email address on bn.com in the future.
posted by littleredwagon at 11:25 AM on May 21, 2012


Step 1 set up filter that says "from:yourEmailAddress@gmail.com and from sales@bn.com" or whatever the appropriate address is, and have it to to trash automatically.
Step 2 (for when you want to sign up for bn.com with your email address), you can sign up with your address but add a period or a plus as described in this article.
posted by pyro979 at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel your pain -- i have a firstnamelastinitial@populardomain, and get other people's email all the time. Daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Confirmation of purchases, facebook signups, money orders purchased, direct deposit notifications (!!), requests for information, etc etc. Never mind the family photos, and of course endless spam-types where they've signed up for various retail flyers. Oiy. Oddly enough, I haven't seen B&N yet, but it's probably only a maetter of time.

My general rule -- if its personal, email them back and explain they have the wrong email address and ask them to remove me from their address book. (I've even asked them to tell the person the next time they see them they are handing out someone else's email!) If there's an unsub link, use it. All other gets marked as spam or deleted without another thought. You can be nice, but there are limits. You are not responsible for the fact some people are dumbasses and don't even know their own email address.

As for B&N, if you want to use that email on that site for your own use -- just get a forgot password link and change the password, and commander the account as your own, changing name, address, payment info, etc. Or sign up with another email address :(
posted by cgg at 11:44 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


As for B&N, if you want to use that email on that site for your own use -- just get a forgot password link and change the password, and commander the account as your own, changing name, address, payment info, etc. Or sign up with another email address :(

See above. I tried that but they have a security question attached that I can't answer correctly.
posted by littleredwagon at 11:47 AM on May 21, 2012


I suspect this is a phishing scam. It's very difficult to sign up for any service these days without verifying the account over email.

You'd think, except I get this happening to me maybe twice a year? Match.com a couple of times, Wordpress, some US department store I can't remember... and I can tell you that where I work they silently register new users without email verification. To a Marketing person, verification is just getting in the way of a new user registration.

posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:51 AM on May 21, 2012


Call B&N customer support back and tell them you want to update the password and other account information on your account but you've forgotten what you put down for the security question. Then keep them on the line while they reset the password and send you the reset password link via email to confirm you can login. The goal here is to present it as "This is my BN.com account that I can't gain access to" not "Someone else used my email account to open an account at BN.com."

Having gone through a very similar situation just a few months ago when my teenager was given a Nook for Christmas, signed up for a BN.com account and then promptly forgot both his password and his security answer, BN.com phone support will work with you if you've got a plausible story and are willing to associate a credit card with the account. It's really the later half that carries a lot of weight on their end.

I suspect this is a phishing scam. It's very difficult to sign up for any service these days without verifying the account over email.
Seconding EndsOfInvention's experience with Match.com's sloppy signup procedures. Someone who happens to share the same name as me but lives on the other side of the country has signed up for Match.com using my email address and is able to go as far as filling out her profile and making it public. I tracked her down to a real person on the other side of the country and called her house to inform her of the error but she freaked out because, you know, "Call from Internet Hacker who somehow knows my Match.com password, OMG!" so I settled for reset password/seize control/delete account.

posted by jamaro at 12:02 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not sure you're going to be able to convince BN that you forgot where you were born.
posted by Dasein at 12:28 PM on May 21, 2012


Just a side note-- It may be hard to sign up for a free service without an email confirmation, but if you're entering a credit card to pay for goods, only a crazy business would ask you to check your inbox before you proceeded with the purchase.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:41 PM on May 21, 2012


I'd move up the chain as much as possible at BN.com customer service to get this fixed - at least by getting your email removed from the account. Can you check your spam to see if you've gotten any other emails that might help with this?

I just set up a 'new' account with bn.com and was not sent any kind of verification email.

When I sent a password reset request, it, like you stated, asked me to provide an answer to a security question. Ultimately, I think this is your answer, though:

Can't Remember Your Security Answer?
If you can't remember your security answer but wish to use your existing email address to maintain a Barnes & Noble.com account, you may do so by creating a new account.
Please Note: If you choose to create a new account with your existing email address, previously stored addresses, credit card numbers, B&N Member information, wish list items, and order history will not be associated with this new account. Any orders placed prior to creating this new account will no longer be retrievable online.

posted by tilde at 12:43 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looking at this thread, perhaps the person has corrected their email address but is unable to unregister the Nook because it's on the old address?

If you are bored enough to kill time, try googling your name (if it's yourname@email.com or whatever) and your email address to see if there any likely-looking public profiles that mistakenly list your email and/or have birthdates you can try. Yourname + Afrikaans, yourname + nook forum, etc. Social engineering for justice!
posted by nicebookrack at 12:48 PM on May 21, 2012


Not sure you're going to be able to convince BN that you forgot where you were born.

Only a fool uses real info to answer a security question. It's not at all an uncommon request.
posted by jamaro at 12:49 PM on May 21, 2012


Only a fool uses real info to answer a security question. It's not at all an uncommon request.

I don't even want to know...
posted by littleredwagon at 12:58 PM on May 21, 2012


littleredwagon: "I don't even want to know..."

One example of where using real information was not a best practice.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:02 PM on May 21, 2012


How can I get eyes on this?

Mail a letter. This page lists the company's management team, including the CEO and a VP of public affairs. Draft a quick, one-page letter and mail identical copies to those two offices. It may not get in front of those two people, but it should end up in the right hands.

(That was my first Google search. You could spend a few more minutes finding the name(s) of someone who is more directly tasked with customer relations. Sometimes those names are tricky to dig out, but they're usually somewhere.)
posted by cribcage at 1:15 PM on May 21, 2012


Whenever the dude who uses my email address to order Dominos pizzas places an order, I call the store and cancel the order. Could you do this with future orders?

Also, littleredwagon, are you aware that there are work-around solutions to your problem as long as you're using gmail? If you insert a period (".") into the part of your email address that's before the @, it will register as a different email address to BN.com, but still go to your gmail inbox. Likewise, if you type a plus sign ("+") at the end of your email name with characters after the plus and before the @, the message will still go to your in box. So messages sent to littleredwagon@gmail.com and little.red.wagon@gmail.com and littleredwagon+books@gmail.com all will go to the same inbox.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:17 PM on May 21, 2012


Also, littleredwagon, are you aware that there are work-around solutions to your problem as long as you're using gmail? If you insert a period (".") into the part of your email address that's before the @, it will register as a different email address to BN.com, but still go to your gmail inbox. Likewise, if you type a plus sign ("+") at the end of your email name with characters after the plus and before the @, the message will still go to your in box. So messages sent to littleredwagon@gmail.com and little.red.wagon@gmail.com and littleredwagon+books@gmail.com all will go to the same inbox.

I learned this from the great pyro979 and pcmag, above. Thanks!
posted by littleredwagon at 1:35 PM on May 21, 2012


This EXACT THING happened to me with a bn.com user, and customer support via phone and email was less than helpful.

Know what finally worked? A polite, concise message on the bn Facebook page. Got a real person to message me, contact that user, got it all sorted.

(It most certainly was an idiot user, not a phishing scheme.)
posted by GamblingBlues at 1:40 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ugh. I've been trying to track down the person with my name who uses my gmail address for their signups for some time now.

It is maddening that people can't get their own addresses correct when signing up for services (I have assumed their address is the same as mine but with a number they are occasionally forgetting, and looking through this thread that seems like it might be your situation as well). In any case, I've managed to delete several accounts they set up for web sites where the confirmations came to me, and finally in just the last week or so I got a couple of emails from individuals trying to email him, and I emailed these folks back asking them, should they have non-email contact with my doppelganger, to have him contact me or at the least tell him what he is doing wrong and to stop. I hope you have better luck than I have so far. I am on the verge of mailing all the numbered variations of my name to get through to the person, maybe that would help you too?
posted by aught at 1:50 PM on May 21, 2012


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