No, really, kid, I don't know you!
May 13, 2013 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way to block the incessant iMessages and Facetime requests from a particular person? For the past few months, I've been getting near-daily iMessages and Facetime requests from someone I don't know. It's pretty clearly a kid, and I can't get them to believe that they are sending the messages to the wrong person -- if I reply and tell them that, they either won't believe me, or they respond by asking me over and over what my name is and what school I go to, and do I know so-and-so's cousin, etc., etc.. It's maddening.

I finally gave up and turned Facetime off on my phone, but that's not an ideal solution; I would like to be able to use it with family and friends. Ignoring the messages doesn't help, because they just keep sending the same message over and over. Telling them off doesn't help. Verizon can't block them, because the messages are coming through iMessage, and aren't plain old text messages.

I've tried to find out who owns the email address the messages are coming from, but no luck -- it looks like a Gmail address for a business. My husband suggested I change my Apple ID, but I don't see how that would do any good. Hope me, hive mind -- is there anything I can do to get the messages to stop? They are driving me insane.
posted by sarcasticah to Technology (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about Facetiming the kid and telling it off? I mean, difficult to think you're lying about your identity when you're visually telling the little shit to STOP or you're going to CALL HIS PARENTS AND HIS SCHOOL.

Also, email the gmail address and tell them.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:45 PM on May 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Facetime and iMessage them back over and over. Try it every half-hour, especially early in the morning. If they answer, pick up a novel and start reading aloud.

Maybe they'll block you instead.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:53 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I just realized something -- there's a woman in Ohio with a similar name as me, who has been giving out my email address as hers for months now. I wonder if whoever this is is trying to reach her? I really, really don't want to change my email address...
posted by sarcasticah at 12:56 PM on May 13, 2013

Even if it is a gmail address for a business, presumably this is the email that the Apple account is hooked to, thus belongs to an adult with a credit card. Why don't you just try emailing them and letting them know the situation?
posted by coupdefoudre at 1:04 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I actually have emailed them, and got no response. I'll stop thread-sitting now, I promise!
posted by sarcasticah at 1:11 PM on May 13, 2013

You can turn either iMessages or Facetime off completely, but you cannot block a specific user. Its been a complaint for a couple of years, but thus far Apple has given no indication when or even if they will support a block by user function.
posted by Lame_username at 1:20 PM on May 13, 2013

On iOS, you can use Do Not Disturb as a workaround. In Settings, go to Notifications > Do Not Disturb, select "Allow Calls From" and pick a group of callers that you do want to hear from. Make sure you turn off "Repeated Calls" if the pest is calling you over and over. Unfortunately this mutes alerts too, but maybe you'll only have to do it for a limited period of time until this person decides to give up.
posted by overleaf at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2013

Reply and pretend you are someone they know. Ask for their home address and phone number. Call or send a letter addressed to 'the parents of Bobby X'.
posted by jacalata at 2:15 PM on May 13, 2013

Have you done any further sleuthing into this person or the business email? Perhaps you can find out the parents' or relatives' name and contact them directly. On the phone or in person. I don't think you should have to change your email address because of some kid that won't listen.

Or on preview, what jacalata said.
posted by purple_bird at 2:16 PM on May 13, 2013

If this is actually a child contacting you I think it would be most unwise to try to get his or her home address or phone number. It would probably also be pretty foolish to start calling a child incessantly, telling them off, or reading them a novel in the early morning.
posted by telegraph at 2:20 PM on May 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

I was in the exact same situation. And I mean exact. Some kid was sending me iMessages (and attempting FaceTime calls) to the email address associated with my Apple ID (an email address at which I get many messages for my army of doppelgängers). I explained over and over again that I wasn’t who they wanted but they just didn’t believe me. They seemed to think their friend was playing games with them and had a really hard time believing that there could be someone out there with the exact same name as their friend.

Here’s what I did:

First, I recorded a short video of myself, saying, “Hi, [name]. My name’s [my full name, which is the username part of my email address] and I’m very sorry but I don’t know you.” I sent this to them using iMessage (hit the camera icon next to the text entry bit at the bottom).

That didn’t seem to work, as I got a reply saying, “yeah, right.” However, I’m not actually certain that they had watched the video when they sent that message.

So I sent them a photograph of my passport (again via iMessage). Not the whole thing, mind. Just the portion containing my picture and my name (thus demonstrating that the person in the video really did have my name).

That seemed to work. I haven’t heard anything since.

I agree with telegraph that trying to track down or scold the child is probably unwise. I’m sure my contact was embarrassed and possibly terrified when they found out that they had been communicating with an adult. Also, if you contact the parents, they might flip out that an unknown adult is contacting their child on their phone and send in the FBI.
posted by kyten at 2:28 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do NOT NOT NOT ask for their home address or phone number!!!

My wife has this problem too (desirable first name email address), and so far the only way we've got one of the persistent little buggers to stop has been for me to answer the ringing with my most pissed off grumpy unshaven face. They don't want to chat with grumpy guy.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:30 PM on May 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yeah I've got this as well as a very old gmail account which so very many confused people believe is theirs. I was going to post this very same Ask right down to being shocked to see a child when I picked up one of the errant FaceTime calls. For some reason people always believe I've done something to scam them rather than their having emailed/texted/FaceTimed the wrong address. Especially the woman whose accountant sent her FICO report to me. The adults usually get the hint pretty quickly, but in the case of the kid I was just so bewildered that I said nothing but "wrong person" and hung up.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 2:59 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, I'm not going to try to track down the kid, or get their name and address. I have been digging around trying to find out who owns the email address, but again, no luck. Nothing on Google, nothing on Facebook. Even Googling the business name doesn't come up with anything. I just tried emailing again, explaining the situation and asking them to talk to their kid. (At the very least, the kid shouldn't be so quick to keep messaging a stranger. If it even is a kid; I'm assuming it is, but it could be an extremely stupid adult.)
posted by sarcasticah at 3:26 PM on May 13, 2013

Accept the FaceTime, and walk away for 5-10 minutes? At least out of view, and don't make any noise? The kid probably knows he has the wrong person, and is just trying to get a rise out of you. Give them the most boring FaceTiming session ever, and they might stop trying to contact you.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:42 PM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

if you go under settings, facetime, you can change the email address or phone number you will accept Facetime calls under. This can be different from the apple ID you use on the device for apps (I have five iDevices all with the same Apple ID for apps but different email adresses so I can facetime from/to each of them). I think you can do the same with iMessage.
posted by saucysault at 4:09 PM on May 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, if you jailbreak your iPhone, you can use iBlacklist to block Facetime calls (and pretty much anything else) from any specific person. I've used it before and it's excellent.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:56 PM on May 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

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