How to deal with email sent to your address incorrectly?
February 26, 2015 1:23 PM   Subscribe

So I have what must be a fairly common name, and I get mail for other people with my name fairly regularly because I got lucky and landed "" a long time ago. This is usually not a big deal, but today I got a subscription confirmation email from a porn site that one of the other people with my name probably signed up for. Anybody have any idea what the etiquette here is, and how to maybe avoid this kind of annoyance in the future?

I've been in touch previously with at least one person with my name and a very similar email address, and I don't think it's for them (their issue was mostly people forgetting they had a "d" in between their first name and last name in their email address). However, at least one of the people who share my name is really bad about remembering whatever their actual email address is. I still regularly get emails from people regarding social plans, a ton of emails from a car dealership where one of my name doppelgängers either signed up for a mailing list or bought a car (or both), and other similar junk. This person doesn't seem to know that they're using the wrong address when they give people their email or sign up for mailing lists (and now porn sites!).

Should I just trash the subscription confirmation? It has a link in it to a page on their site that I would assume has some sensitive information (credit card for payment, etc.). Does this happen frequently to anyone else, and if so, what if anything is there to do about it? It's getting increasingly frustrating, and if this person is going to keep buying stuff and using the wrong email address, I'd like to figure out a way to avoid this kind of annoyance in the future.
posted by rabbitroom to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Delete it, block the sending address, and move on. If they want their porn that badly they'll type their email correctly next time.
posted by Wretch729 at 1:29 PM on February 26, 2015 [8 favorites]

This is a really common question here. previously, previously, previously, previously. I got bored, there are many more.
posted by desjardins at 1:31 PM on February 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

This is a common thing. Ignore, block move on.

Don't bother trying to figure out who it belongs to. FWIW, Husbunny has a fairly common name and he gets random emails from the other dude all the time. "Hey Bunny! The other guy is going to Las Vegas!"

They figure it out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:34 PM on February 26, 2015

I don't think that you'll be able to prevent this in any way. But, maybe your complete lack of concern about investigating and correcting the matter will help this person to be a bit more accurate. I also vote for trash & block.
posted by quince at 1:35 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ignore, delete or unsubscribe.

Once in a while I get one that seems worth making some effort to reply they have the wrong email address.
posted by 724A at 1:35 PM on February 26, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the input, folks. Sorry I'm an idiot and did not find any of the previous similar questions.
posted by rabbitroom at 1:44 PM on February 26, 2015

I once purposely ignored emails sent to my address by mistake, and as a result some oil company executives did not get the hunting license to kill as many animals as they desired. (I actually ignored it because I thought it was spam, but I realized it was real when one oil executive sent an email lambasting me for my lack of professionalism as a member of the Fish and Wildlife Service.)

After that incident, however, I wrote up the "you have reached the wrong person named firstname lastname" generic email, and I send that to people who send me divorce filings, sensitive financial documents, photographs, etc.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:53 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have the same problem, so I keep two emails in my draft folder for use as necessary:
You have sent this message to an incorrect email address. The person that you intended to send it to is not at this email address. I do not know another email address for that person. I have deleted your email and any attachments. Have a pleasant day.
On the few occasions the sender presses:
I do not know another email address or any other contact information for that person. I am blocking your email address and will not receive nor be able to respond to any further emails from you. I hope you will be able to find that person's contact information. Have a pleasant day.
But for subscription confirmations, I just delete them and move on with my day.
posted by Etrigan at 2:07 PM on February 26, 2015 [5 favorites]

I reply to personal emails with: "Sorry, wrong Xavier.Onassis." All others get trashed.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:20 PM on February 26, 2015

I delete them all. My doppelganger has at least twenty cars, as far as I can tell. I get emails from multiple car dealerships (different brands) and constant reminders to change my oil or put on snow tires or whatever the hell. Yet another reason I'm happy not to have a car. Who knew car owners got so much spam?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:28 PM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I once had a bank send someone else's financial docs to my gmail address. It wasn't from some automated system, but from a specific bank employee's email. When I told them they had the wrong email address, get this, they replied and asked me for their customer's updated email address.

So I replied again, very carefully spelled out the situation, and threatened to post all the docs on reddit if they contacted me again (yeah I was pretty bored that evening). That did the trick.
posted by ryanrs at 4:53 PM on February 26, 2015

You should definitely tell a live human that you are not so-and-so. We had my cousin's email address wrong for an embarrassingly long time, and finally the other guy emailed us back to tell us so. We kinda wish he'd done it sooner, although we still joke about inviting "the other TJ" to Christmas this year.

For an automated subscription site I would block and ignore.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2015

So many AskMeFi threads about this kind of stuff. It's a porn subscription, not an email from a long lost relative looking to reunite. Unsubscribe/block/etc and move on. It's not your fault that some dumbass doesn't know his own email address.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:36 PM on February 26, 2015

Sometimes I google them to find their real address and forward their mail to them. There's a guy who has the dot com version of my personal dot net address and he would send angry notes to me and the friends who had mistyped my address. Mostly I just try not to be that guy.
posted by bendy at 7:35 PM on February 26, 2015

This is the canned response I send out when I get an email from an actual human being (oftentimes with sensitive documents attached):


You're receiving this response because your email was sent to the wrong address. Please contact your friend/family member/colleague (via other means) and verify his or her correct email address.

Thank you,
[my name]

Seems to work pretty well.

I mostly just ignore/block autogenerated confirmation messages. They'll try harder to get the address right next time.
posted by trunk muffins at 11:15 AM on February 27, 2015

I agree with chainsoffreedom. I try to respond to emails that are personally sent; auto-generated ones I delete/block/ignore/unsubscribe.
posted by odin53 at 12:29 PM on February 27, 2015

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