Help me resolve this email "wrong number"
January 27, 2021 9:25 AM   Subscribe

I have a gmail account with my moderately common last name and first initial which results in me sometimes getting emails intended for other folks. I just got one asking for verification on an unemployment claim and since I don't want a person in need to go without, I'd like to see if I can track down the intended recipient or get the sender to follow up in another way.

I'm not really sure where to start with this, and I'm hesitant to just call up a government office in Arkansas which is likely very overburdened right now unless folks think it might do some good. Any suggestions about approach or relevant experiences resolving similar issue would be appreciated.

Here's the full text of the email with the irrelevant portions (including my gmail address) removed:
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 10:43:55 +0000
Subject: ACTION REQUIRED: Your ADWS Unemployment Claim requires verification
Content-Type: multipart/related; boundary="----=_Part_137975_292476967.1611744235023"

Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Your ADWS unemployment claim requires additional verification. Please cl=
ick <a href="3D">here</a> from your mob=
ile phone to respond to the driver=E2=80=99s license/state ID verification =
request. You should complete the process even if you have already uploaded =
your identification. 

Please note that you have 7 days to complete the verification before the=
 link expires.

If you require any assistance, please contact the Arkansas Division of W=
orkforce Services.

This is a system generated message. Please do not reply to this email.

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services &bull; 2 Capitol Mall, Little Ro=
ck, Arkansas 72201 &bull;

posted by Cogito to Technology (12 answers total)
I would send an email to ADWS to let them know that their correspondence was misdirected ( State UI depts are so swamped right now that you likely won't hear back, but someone will see it eventually. I think, unfortunately, that's about all you can do. Keep in mind that UI fraud is mind-boggling common right now, so it's possible this isn't even a legit claim.
posted by zibra at 10:00 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]

If you hover over the "here" link in the email, does the link look real? This looks like it could be phishing to me.
posted by dforemsky at 10:04 AM on January 27

Response by poster: The email is legit, it goes to a secure site. However! I'm glad you pointed that out because following it revealed the name of the intended recipient (my last name, different first name). Now the question is how I can get in touch with them and not look like I'm a scammer.
posted by Cogito at 10:15 AM on January 27

same way for missing wallet: google name, use facebook and pm, find on twitter and follow
posted by sandmanwv at 10:28 AM on January 27

Response by poster: This person has been the source of a number of wrong emails to me, I think. I found a record for them on, and it's cheap enough that I'd buy it to be able to get in touch with them, but I'm not sure if that site is shady or if there's a better way to get the info.
posted by Cogito at 10:29 AM on January 27

I started getting some misdirected emails from some kind of government or municipal linked foster care agency - I ended up contacting the agency (I did have the benefit of an individual name at the foster agency to contact) and after several reminders I got her to update her contact list. I wouldn't assume the error was on the part of the addressee but you can probably work with whatever you've got.

I did NOT want those kids to miss out on scheduled group events which looked pretty fun!

I'd try as hard as you're able to - these kinds of kinks can really screw with people.
posted by rdnnyc at 10:42 AM on January 27

It's too bad that you can't generate an "email refused" response to misdirected email.
posted by kschang at 11:32 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]

I have a gmail address that lots of people think is theirs, so this happens weekly to me to varying degrees of actual seriousness.

Are you able to call the office and offer the information in the email you received? If you can get a person on the phone, it's more likely to be fixed. They may have alternate contact information on file for the real applicant and might be able to call them and ask them to re-submit.

I dealt with someone's new kitchen appliance delivery around US Thanksgiving in 2019 and it was a gigantic run-around for me, but apparently I managed to get the stove and fridge delivered correctly ahead of the holiday after many frustrating "I'm sorry this isn't me" phone calls. (I know it was delivered because they emailed me a copy of the proof of delivery despite having promised that my email was removed from the account.)
posted by komlord at 12:34 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]

Is there any way to find them on social media? When this happened to me I was finally able to resolve it by finding the person's Instagram account and messaging them there. I had enough info from the emails I was getting to Google "[first initial] [middle initial] [last name] [US state]" and it turned up a single person. But my last name is fairly unusual. And of course this only solves things if they're the one entering an incorrect email, as opposed to an agency error.

(In my case the person was a teenage girl who shared my exact initials and last name. I was prepared to ignore it -- I hadn't gotten anything that seemed important -- until one day when she tried to reset my password like 40 times in a row. No idea why she thought my email was hers considering I'd had it longer than she'd been alive! It stopped once I contacted her, though it's looking like I'm going to get spammy emails from "the Flat Belly App" until I die.)
posted by catoclock at 2:03 PM on January 27

Response by poster: Tried a couple probable matches I found through, which my library provides for free, but no luck so far
posted by Cogito at 2:05 PM on January 27 works well too, and is free with none of the spokeo bs.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 6:26 PM on January 27

Response by poster: Thanks Maxwell_Smart! found a match, but the number wasn't theirs (or wasn't any longer). I left a message anyway on the off chance that person knows how to get in touch. I even tried Spokeo, which I realized was lying about having a phone number for this person, but I only wasted $1, so meh.
posted by Cogito at 1:39 PM on January 28

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