Someone has used my email address as their primary Facebook email. Help!
July 7, 2013 8:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm now getting emails out the ying yang with all her account activity. I can't fix this with the conventional "log-in and change the password" trick. Contacting both Facebook and her directly for help have yielded nothing. Is there anything else I can do?

A few weeks ago, I received a "Welcome to Facebook" email on a Gmail email address (firstname.L.lastname@gmail) that I have never registered with Facebook. I immediately clicked the "didn't sign up for an account?" link on the email to disable it, and considered it problem solved. Wrong!

Four days later, I received another email from Facebook--"Sorry you've been having trouble logging into Facebook, here's how to get back on," followed by an onslaught of friend acceptance/request/message emails--the account was back in action. Curious, I logged into my own Facebook account and took some important steps: first, I registered this firstname.L.lastname@gmail email address onto my Facebook account, and I also tried the "forgot password" trick recommended on a previous AskMefi and all over the internet--since this person had used my own email address, I could theoretically change their password. No dice, as they had already added a secondary email for actual communications, yet my email remained as their primary account email. So I was incapable of doing anything myself to change the situation. (An important note: this woman had registered firstnameLlastname@gmail with Facebook, but since Gmail doesn't pay attention to the periods in an email address, it still goes to my email).

More curious--and super frustrated, I did some snooping. I discovered that this is a second Facebook account for this woman, who is in her 60s, lives in Georgia, and shares my name. Miraculously, I was able to log in to this newly created account of hers due to my clicking on one of the links from a Facebook email for her account via my phone. I thought I had the key to the kingdom until I realized that I was helpless without her actual password (couldn't disable the account, change the primary email address, or change the password without it). Frustrated, I set the language to Korean, thinking I could at least have a little fun, then accidentally logged myself out of her account because I couldn't read Korean and clicked on the Korean symbols for "log-out."

Since I was able to see her secondary email address, I wrote her a letter (from my Gmail account, mind you) articulating my problem, and also gave her a link with directions of how to change her primary email address. No response. I had already written to Facebook with my problem and had heard nothing, so I wrote to them again five days later when I realized the futility of the situation. Still nothing.

For the last few days, I thought perhaps Facebook had taken action--I threw something in the email to them about this being a second account for this user, and the whole story of using my email address to register--since I hadn't received any Facebook emails. But then I just received one that the local funeral home in Georgia had friended her, so that was a wash.

So out of all this babble, is there any further action I can take? Do I just let it go with the heart of a buddha and set a filter in Gmail for all those Facebook emails to immediately go into? It just seems so ridiculous that I am unable to do something to rectify the situation...and that Facebook has a flaw in which users can register with an email they never access and yet can still use Facebook.

For what it's worth, the account seems real (i.e. no catfishing going on--most of the friends are family members), and after more online snooping, I found this lady's phone number and address in Georgia.

Thank you, Mefites!
posted by trampoliningisfun to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd be tempted to call her up and tell her what's going on.

Barring that, yeah, gmail filter and forget about it.
posted by Sara C. at 8:36 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

You found her phone number? Dial it!
posted by oceanjesse at 8:36 PM on July 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

I get a moderate amount of email that isn't meant for me. I contact people one time if it seems important (ie, a personal email), then filter into the trash. For something like Facebook notifications, I would have sent them straight to the trash.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2013

Call her and talk to her about it.
posted by John Cohen at 8:40 PM on July 7, 2013

I get this fairly often. I would filter it and forget about it since she hasn't responded to your contacts. But, if you want to be sure she controls her own account, you'll have to take a bit of time to eliminate this one.

Since this is Facebook, you have little chance of resolving this through customer service. You can reset her password without knowing the password by getting a reset link sent to your e-mail. Do that, then log in and remove her e-mail address. You now control the account and she cannot log in. Be sure to end any other sessions she has open. Send a message to all her friends telling them that the account will be deleted since it was registered with someone else's e-mail address and that they should tell her to create a new account. They will contact her and she will finally believe your earlier communication. Then, initiate the delete account procedure. You'll get a desperate series of "don't go!" e-mails from Facebook for a couple weeks, which you can filter, but they will eventually end.

Alternately, add her secondary e-mail to the account. If she confirms it, then you can set it to primary and remove your e-mail. It still requires changing the password, but you can send the new password to her e-mail or rely on her to perform the reset sequence.
posted by michaelh at 8:58 PM on July 7, 2013 [13 favorites]

If this is a secondary Facebook account for her, she may be using a secondary email address. I have a throwaway email address that I give as the contact email for random websites I sign up to. I never check this email. She may not have gotten your message. Try contacting her on her Facebook page.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:45 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

While you're in your profile, add these addresses: and Won't help you with your current problem, but might prevent future ones!

I have the same problem. I've also done this for my Apple ID too. Good luck.
posted by sbutler at 9:56 PM on July 7, 2013

I think there are a bunch of great ideas above, but if all else fails, set up a filter in your email that sends this messages straight to the trash. I used to get so frustrated when things like this happened to me, but now I just get Gmail to deal with it for me and it really is out of sight, out of mind.
posted by Kimberly at 6:11 AM on July 8, 2013

Is it possible that the person who accidentally used your email can't fix it because now everything is now in Korean and she can't read the meus? I'd try michaelh's solution.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:26 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

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