Some guy used my email address to sign up for Facebook.
September 2, 2014 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Some guy used my (secondary) e-mail address when he signed up for Facebook, so now I am getting zillions of friend requests, status updates, personal messages, etc., via Facebook that are meant for him. My goal is to somehow bring this to his attention and get him to use his real email address.

The address in question is gmail, and I signed up for FB so long ago that I needed to use a school email address; hence I never associated my gmail address with my FB profile. Fast forward almost a decade, and now some guy has apparently used my gmail address in signing up for Facebook.

He is a guy in Australia with my same last name and same first initial (think "Joe" vs. "John"), but otherwise NO connection to me whatsoever - not a 3rd degree friend, nothing. It appears Facebook no longer lets you just search for just anyone outside of your social network, if they ever did, so even knowing his full name and hometown I am not able to send him a message on FB.

My only real goal is to get this stream of irrelevant FB mail to stop arriving at my gmail address; I guess I would also like to mitigate the chances that some algorithm down the road decides that the account is "really" his by some pattern of use or association. What can I do to bring this about without being a dick? It has occurred to me that I could reset his Facebook password, log in to his account, and leave some snide status update to get him to straighten it out, but that seems unduly invasive. As mentioned above, I am apparently not able to send him a message directly. Any other ideas?

Also, since we have an identical last name and first initial, I surmise that he perhaps accidentally mis-typed his actual gmail address, but I am not sure exactly where that gets me. For instance, I think gmail used to redirect "first.last" to "firstlast" and no longer does (right??), so I could try emailing some "." variations on my name, but other than that it seems to be shooting in the dark to try and reach him with a slight variation on my gmail address.

Thanks for any other pointers.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sorry, update: I can send an email to the "other folder" but not his inbox since we are not friends.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:37 PM on September 2, 2014


For instance, I think gmail used to redirect "first.last" to "firstlast" and no longer does (right??),

No, gmail has always and still does ignore any and all dots in email addresses. bob@gmail.com = b.ob@gmail.com = b.o.b@gmail.com, etc. He just straight up put he wrong email address in, nothing to do with dots.

I personally would change the password and log in, and ideally just remove your email address (if there's a second one in there) and contact that email address. Otherwise you'll need to leave a message or contact someone associated with his account to change it. I would try to keep yourself as anonymous as possible through this.
posted by brainmouse at 3:37 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


What can I do to bring this about without being a dick? It has occurred to me that I could reset his Facebook password, log in to his account, and leave some snide status update to get him to straighten it out, but that seems unduly invasive.

When this happened to me and I had no way of contacting the person, I just changed the password and hoped they would figure it out eventually and register a new account with their own actual email address. Really, in my opinion, you can't be expected to go out of your way to help someone who can't pay attention to what email address they are typing in. But I'm kind of a dick.
posted by Librarypt at 3:38 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Facebook advice on this issue:

When someone adds an email address to their account we send a notification to every email address listed on the account. If someone added an email address that you own to their account, you can add it back to your account from your Settings and confirming it via your secure email. You may also want to change the password for the email address to keep it secure.

Source
posted by hegivor at 3:38 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Can you friend one of the friends you are getting the invites for and have them pass a message or give you the real name?

You could even friend a bunch, someone will certainly allow you in (esp if your name is the same as the real friend) the guy you want will be in _their_ friend lists.

Lather rinse repeat until you friend him, then send him a message.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don't try and log in to his account. Even though it's your email logging into his account would be considered hacking. Yes it is super low level and most likely nothing will happen but still illegal.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:45 PM on September 2, 2014


I had a similar issue and I sent the person a friend request, then made a public post on my wall that said "if you're the person who has the same name I do, this is why I friend requested you," explained the details, and asked them to send me a message to get everything straightened out. Worked like a charm.
posted by something something at 3:46 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thanks all and especially hegivor, whose advice was (almost) correct. One thing that page DIDN'T say is that you first need to go dig up one of the emails from other dude's initial sign-on attempt, and click on the "this isn't me" link, which causes the email to be suspended / removed from the other person's account. This is needed before you can follow the advice on that Help page and add the address back to your account.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:54 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Don't try and log in to his account. Even though it's your email logging into his account would be considered hacking. Yes it is super low level and most likely nothing will happen but still illegal.

Can you cite this?
posted by phatkitten at 4:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


What can I do to bring this about without being a dick? It has occurred to me that I could reset his Facebook password, log in to his account, and leave some snide status update to get him to straighten it out, but that seems unduly invasive.

That won't work. Reason being that Facebook will recognise that your own IP address doesn't match the ones this person commonly logs on from.

As a result it'll ask you to go through some extended validation involving answering questions about his profile or identifying a friend of his in one of four pictures.

Since you don't know the guy, you'll fail the questions and his account will be locked. You'll never get close enough to actually being able to do anything.
posted by mr_silver at 4:17 PM on September 2, 2014


I'm not understanding that you can't search for his name. Because I can search for people on Facebook. Using their search bar.
posted by raisingsand at 5:07 PM on September 2, 2014


This happened to me before, so I went in and changed the password. Then the person who was using my email address sent Facebook one of those I've been hacked requests, which went to my email, so they couldn't do anything to resolve it. Then I went in and deactivated their account.
posted by hazel79 at 6:17 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not understanding that you can't search for his name. Because I can search for people on Facebook. Using their search bar.

Yes, and what's more, you can still search just by email address. So put the email address (your email address) in the search bar and you should find him.
posted by cincinnatus c at 1:35 AM on September 3, 2014


Yeah, you guys are right, I was imprecise (i.e. wrong) in my original post. It's not that I can't search for him, it's that I can't send him a message. Except to the "other", non-inbox folder which, let's face it, everyone ignores.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 4:22 PM on September 3, 2014


> > Don't try and log in to his account. Even though it's your email logging into his account would be considered hacking. Yes it is super low level and most likely nothing will happen but still illegal.

> Can you cite this?

@phatkitten, I agree with @AlexiaSky. IANAL, but I believe this would be criminal in the US and the UK. I believe the relevant legislation in the US is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and in UK the Computer Misuse Act. You'll have to check with your lawyer for a more specific / authoritative cite, but I'm pretty sure there have been prosecutions in both countries for logging in with someone else's account.

One of the big problems with this law IMO is how unpredictably this is actually enforced: it's on the books so "the man" can mess your life up if you come to the attention of the authorities, but 99% of the time it's just ignored.

I'm sure I have a great pithy quote written down somewhere about how selective law enforcement is the tool of an authoritarian state, but I don't have it to hand :-)

</derail>
posted by richb at 2:08 AM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


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