Kindle Imposter Needs To Be Shut Down!
December 30, 2013 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Starting around 11am Dec 25 I started getting email from Amazon for a person named Tammy XXXX who shares my last name. My assumption is she used my email address accidentally to register her kindle. What do I do about this?

The emails started off with "Welcome to Your New kindle" and "Welcome to Amazon Prime" and then continued to be receipts for any games or books she downloaded. I get about 3 of them a day now. I called Amazon yesterday to explain the situation and their first response was 'you should call google cuz someone must have the same email as you" !!!!!!! I think not. I asked that they notify this person that they are using my personal email address and to lock the account until it's resolved but I'm still getting emails. What other avenues of recourse do I have to make this person understand they are using my personal email address and it needs to stop?
posted by spicynuts to Computers & Internet (20 answers total)
In my experience, if the company/person who is sending the emails can't/won't stop it, there is pretty much nothing to be done. I have ended up using a filter to send those straight to trash. Inelegant, and the actual recipient may not be happy, but what are you going to do? It's frustrating.
posted by thebrokedown at 8:34 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Route to your spam folder and forget about it. Unless it's linked to your Google Wallet through some bizarre circumstance (the receipts should let you know the last four digits of whatever card they're getting charged to), this isn't really your problem at all.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:35 AM on December 30, 2013

Perform a password reset on the account and lock them out of it.
posted by toomuchpete at 8:36 AM on December 30, 2013 [25 favorites]

Agreeing with toomuchpete. I have the address katiesullivan@... and I get a lot of emails for other Katie Sullivans. Sometimes these Katie Sullivans set up accounts online using my email address. I go in and change the password and then it is their issue.
posted by orsonet at 8:38 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go in and deactivate her kindle. She'll either get her email address right* when she re-activates it, or you'll have to keep doing it until she figures it out.

Alternately you could create a "send to kindle" address specifically for her device and then send her a PDF telling her to fix it.

*It might have been someone else who screwed it up for her. Christmas presents etc.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:43 AM on December 30, 2013 [11 favorites]

This has come up several times before, 1, 2, 3--and that's just the product of one minute's search.

Change the password, or route to your junk folder. It ain't no thing.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:43 AM on December 30, 2013

Response by poster: how do i change her kindle password?
posted by spicynuts at 8:47 AM on December 30, 2013

The downside to simply resetting the password is that they'll likely to try to reset it, sending you reset emails that are just as upsetting to you as the mis-routed receipts. Lyn Never's ideas are probably the best for actually getting this resolved from your POV.

In the meantime, maybe focus on treating this as what it is (someone entered the wrong email address when registering their kindle), rather than an "identity theft". No one's trying to steal your identity.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:50 AM on December 30, 2013

"how do i change her kindle password?"

Do you have an amazon account associated with your email address? If so, log in and click the "your account" menu on the top (it should be to the right of the search field). One of the options in that pull-down menu is "manage your kindle". Select that option, find the offending kindle, and then either change the password or deactivate it.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:56 AM on December 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

My email address is just my last name, and I always get emails intended for other people. If it seems important, I try to email them using their first name plus my email address. Maybe try or some variation?

It worked for me when I was getting Nissan Service confirmations for Andrew (my last name) in Long Island, wedding vendor responses from Anne (my last name) in Ireland, and a drop box full of naked pictures of Katie (my last name) in California.

You can let her know that she used the wrong email address to register her Kindle. She's probably asking someone on her end how to fix her mistake.
posted by elvissa at 8:58 AM on December 30, 2013

I occasionally get emails for another person with my (uncommon) name. The first time, I contacted her via LinkedIn and she gave me her true email address. Can you do something similar, to just contact this person and let them know, in the spirit of just spreading some kindness in this world?
posted by Houstonian at 8:59 AM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Enable two-factor authentication after you reset your password. It requires your cell phone (which gets a text code) every time there's a login from a new device (and once in a while on your regular devices, with the only hassle being that you need some application specific passwords for things like mail clients and cloud storage etc.).

It is the very best feature of Gmail. You will sleep better.
posted by spitbull at 9:24 AM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I already have the two factor authentication for google so I'm good there. I logged in to amazon with the gmail account in question and changed the password so that should put an end to it for a while.
posted by spicynuts at 10:14 AM on December 30, 2013

Now that you have the new password for the account, you can look in there and find the person's billing address and phone, if you want to help them get going again.
posted by flimflam at 10:16 AM on December 30, 2013

Yeah I mailed a letter to the woman's home that said she needed to change her email address on amazon (and like 5 other sites) after changing her password so she couldn't order any more stuff.

She was very thankful.
posted by magnetsphere at 10:47 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

FYI, google mail has a very very stupid flaw: it allows registration of names containing period variants as unique, but then treats all variants as the same address.
So I own:
Someone else makes the account:
BAM: all of their email goes to me.
I don't know if this is because I made mine first, but the fact is that I own a few dozen gmail addresses (for QA purposes when I need to be many users), and I often get no-period variant emails that are clearly for a real person, and I can see that the address they have been sent to is not exactly mine (e.g. I have, the email is for
So, not necessarily fat fingers, but fat, um, google policies.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:35 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I own a couple dozen domains at which I receive literally This means I get the results of LOT of people's typos, including such things as Kindle registrations, pizza delivery orders, and notices to return their movie rentals (these still exist, I swear) or to pay their overdue HOA fees. Were I a nefarious sort, I could do a lot with all the credit card statements and other financial info that arrives, too.

There's no real fix. Knowingly accessing someone else's account is probably illegal and certainly rude, when she just made an honest newbie mistake.

Make a spam-filtering rule so that anything sent to "tammy@whatever" is trashed or, if your mail app supports it, is bounced back to sender. You'll stop seeing the e-mails and eventually, she will notice the problem and fix it by fixing her registration.

This kind of thing happens. It's not worth your time. Calling Amazon was already overkill.
posted by rokusan at 12:49 PM on December 30, 2013

FYI, google mail has a very very stupid flaw: it allows registration of names containing period variants as unique, but then treats all variants as the same address.

This is false - try it yourself. You can't register an email that is already in use - periods or not.

So I own:
Someone else makes the account:
BAM: all of their email goes to me

It's likely that someone else made a slightly different account and just typed it wrong / forgot.
posted by valeries at 1:19 PM on December 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

Just to hopefully clear this point up, I have a dot in my Google username and mails sent to a dotless version of it are directed to my inbox. So if I'm "totally.gnfti" and someone sends email to "" I get it with a weirdo header message that says "Yes, this is you.". It doesn't help that my Google username is a sort of jokey half-pun I chose in my excitement when Gmail was first rolled out, so I totally get other people's emails from time to time, mostly when they enter what they believe to be a nonsense string for a throwaway account on some web site. I doubt that's what happened here however, and I can't imagine Google doesn't mark the dotless version (and other iterations of the letter string with dots) as taken.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:50 AM on December 31, 2013

Last time this happened to me (I have a first initial last name email address) I actually tracked the person down and called them. After a bit of confusion, she realized what was going on and apologized. Then we started chatting and realized that we were distantly related! Very fun little interaction.

That said, nthing everyone above that no one would fault you for routing it all to spam. Do that if you just want to be done with it and move along with your life.

Also, there's this xkcd comic that might make you chuckle:
posted by beep-bop-robot at 7:50 AM on December 31, 2013

« Older Winter getaway/babymoon in Berkshires/Cooperstown?   |   Temecula, CA accomdations with an eastern (for... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.