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Why am I getting another person's emails in Gmail?

I hope you can help me. I have a Gmail account that I created years ago when it was first introduced as an invite only and I have continued to use for many years with no issues. I won't disclose my email address, but as an example it something like this: (note the period I am using between the first and last name).

In the last few months, I started to receive random emails. Initially I thought it was spam, but it got stranger when I started to receive personal emails not for me but someone with the same first and last name. When I looked closely at the emails I realized that the email address was sent to (without the period). However, that's not my email address, mine has a period between my first and last name and this one didn't. These clearly are different email addresses so why am I getting their emails? Right now I'm paranoid as I'm wondering how many emails are going to the other person's email address. Any explanation to this and is it just me or are any of you experiencing this on Gmail? What can I do, besides abandoning this email account? My brain is hurting and I can't figure it out and I'm hoping that someone has an explanation. I look forward to your help. Thank you.

--Submitted by: John M.

Post was last edited on August 26, 2016 4:12 PM PDT

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GMail naming conventions.

I had the same issue. Gmail the punctuation used in the naming convention is ignored. If you have, then JohnnyGood, Johnny-Good, Johnny_Good will all go to your account. However, will go to a different account, as would other similar addresses.

It was fortunate to grab your name when invited.

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Folks lets cut to the chase...

Spammers have had random naming generators for years - I would immediately assume this is just the usual criminal activity on email. I get lots of identical email that looks just like my address, but even my little ISP email knows the difference without me even answering them. They go to the junk mail box, or don't even reach me and go to the grey mail servers my ISP hires to block this crap - I can't believe so many people are falling for this - GMAIL should know better than this as well!!!

If you reply to ANY such email, all you are doing is LETTING THEM KNOW your email is an actual address, and you will have a JOLLY good time getting the filters to stop all the traffic you will attract after THAT!!

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Paranoia Runs Deep

I have to agree i won't respond either as it could be phishing but it wouldn't be generic spammers. It would have to be a specific planned attack on you personally. Just don't reply and stop any paranoia.

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Your chase vehicle has driven off a bridge

I can see where you might want to jump to this conclusion, but it's one thing to get random email messages sent to you, but quite another when you start seeing a pattern in the email that points to a specific person using your email address as a fake email address.

My gmail doppelgänger is more an unimaginative person than a spammer. This person, who has my same name, seems to use my email address as a throw-away email address that he gives to the car dealership that the takes his cars to for maintenance and the strip mall botox dealer that he frequents. I'm totally serious with this list.

He apparently doesn't want to get email from these outfits, so when asked for an email address he apparently chuckles to himself and gives out what he thinks is a bogus gmail address. My email address.

I attempted to contact the guy to let him know that what he was doing was dangerous and to stop it. You may ask "How did you contact him if he used your email address?" That was easy. I just searched for the guy in and around the location of the car dealer and the botox injector and found that he's a pastor of an evangelical church in that area. I found his work email address from the church web site and sent a friendly, informative email to the guy asking him not to use my email address any more as a "burner" address. I got no response.

The reason why using what he thinks is a bogus email address as a "burner" address is dangerous is because of what I was able to do above. I was able to find out who he was, where he worked, some of his habits and his general morality. He's lucky that I'm not an identity thief and just someone that is trying to keep junk out of my email inbox, because this kind of information in the hands of opportunistic sleaze bags could be exploited horribly.

The moral of the story is that making up a fake email address to give to people that you do business with is extremely dangerous. Don't do it.

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It shouldn't matter anyway..

Unless you have your email filters set wide open - GMAIL is supposed to know who is who by identifiers put in by the email service. Othewise people all over the world would have been flooded years ago by same name email broadcasts. It seems to me that simply setting the filters to exclusive (available on hotmail at least) would block such transmissions. I get email sent to me all the time with my exact address correctly typed, but I never see them, because the filtering system that is used in modern email services can parse the incoming header information and recognize this isn't a known contact. I really can't see why this has become a problem. Maybe I'm totally misunderstanding what is going on here in the first place.

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And the senders do not validate the email address

Recently I started receiving emails addressed to 3 other people with names not exactly equal to mine, but close. For example, if my name is John Doe, I receive mail for John Doe Williams and John Michael Doe. Repeating mails informing money transactions from well known companies like Western Union, banks from France and Africa. I receive the telephone bill from Telefonica for someone in Peru. And the delivery and Uber-like app transactions from someone in Mexico.
It seems to me they are real people .
When I sign up to a forum, they send me an activation link by email. These companies don't seem to bother checking if the email addresses are valid for their clients, and they don't care.
I am a bit worried if these real people are using my email address, but it seems only email from these companies. I trust Gmail will have a strong validation before allowing a password change to one of these people.

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The dot (.) means nothing.

I also have a gmail account with a dot in it, and when I set it up, gmail told me the dot is not really used by them. The email address is the same to Gmail with, or without the dot. So as far as the emails go, you are simply getting spam.

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Not Necessarily Spam

They aren't necessarily spam. I'm getting billings, homeowner's notices, and other proprietary emails for someone with my same name who is apparently a lot better off financially than I am. This just began about 18 months ago. I too did the invite sign-up with Gmail years ago. Fortunately, to date, I don't use that account but I did think I was securing my name back then. I have another Gmail account I use for regular contacts, etc. Only "the lord knows" if he would be getting my emails if that was my primary account. Hmmmm- I wonder if he is getting MY spam!

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I'm in the same boat. I have the dot, yet I get email that doesn't have it. It's genuine email and I feel bad for the other guy. Still looking for this to be resolved without me changing my email address.

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Happening to my dad too

Did you ever resolve this issue with the email doppelganger? My dad is having the same problem, and it's not random spam - it's a person with the same name as him (a very uncommon british name) who seems to be moving to a new city and is using his gmail account when he signs up for domino's pizza, Zillow, and even for some DocuSign legal papers that my dad has received in error. My dad's never received anything like this before about two months ago, and I'm not sure what changed but he has the same problem: was what he chose when he first signed up to gmail 5+ years ago. the emails he's getting are (no dot), but are from the US, all in a particular US state, and almost all solicited emails for an individual person, not the standard list of random phishing emails.

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Not spam but she's pretty weird

I'm also getting bank emails, online shopping emails and now job network emails... all sent to someone who isn't me. I don't think she is a bot.. i sent an email to her directly and she replied. I couldn't find her on facebook however.

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Addendum to my previous reply.

I didn't mean to imply I'm getting all of his email. Just some routine emails concerning properties and travel . I'm guessing he has another email account from which someone else is receiving his emails- LOL!.

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The dot.

I have had the same issue for years with my address - containing a dot - and someone else with the same name whose address does not contain a dot. According to Google, it doesn’t matter but something is going on. Ever once in a while I get emails I tended for her. Today I got her confirmation for a bunch of shoes she ordered - including personal information - as well as an office party invite.
Just after Gmail launched in Beta I created an account for selling Avon. I ended up getting someone else’s messages... her last name was ‘Von’. I was able to contact her mother very a email and explain what happened. I would forward her the emails, and she would forward the emails to her daughter. I eventually cancelled that account. I have reached out to Google over the years but I get the same response. It’s a vanity thing and the dot doesn’t matter.
Unless Google acknowledges that what they say isn’t what is actually happening... I am not sure we’ll get a resolution.

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Yahoo gave away our "primary" email address!

Sorry, a report, not help: we have a. "Primary" account from Yahoo - no longer used - but Yahoo has seen fit to give it to another party, without removing it as our "primary", so, I guess, we all get email addressed to that account. Of course Yahoo has offered no way to solve this situation.

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Mine too!

I had/have the same problem. Someone else was apparently given an identical email address by Yahoo and I started to receive a number of emails from groups that he belonged to and from utilities regarding his new account.

Even after complaining to my ISP (who forced me to have this Yahoo account for their account servicing mail), it did not completely stop. But after I started to 'unsubscribe' from some of the group memberships, as well as alter my account password, then all the mails, in general, have apparently stopped. So I guess the other owner started to get the message and take action to change his account.

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Had the Same Experience Elsewhere

I've seen this with my re-mailer, POBOX.COM and elsewhere. Usually, as others have said, the punctuation (the dot) means nothing. I don't use Google for anything (except to read their privacy policy now and then) but I'm surprised they let the new person have the same address. There are several things you can do:

1) The other person must realize by now that they are not getting any mail. Now would be a good time to explain it to this person if you can pull up their profile and get their actual email address and maybe they will change theirs.
2) If you can create a rule to forward the emails to the other person but you would need to be careful that your email doesn't go to him/her.
3) From another account completely, test various combinations (with dot, without dot, etc.) to see if any of the mail winds up with the other person.
4) Contact the other person, if you can and mention that you were there first. Sometimes (like when I had the pobox issue) the other person can be quite reasonable, especially if they just set up the account.

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I wouldn't go blaming the sender just yet.

I have been having the very same experiences, and also noticed that I am no longer getting any personal emails at all.
Ever since Gmail split my inbox into 3 separate folders (this is almost as infuriating as "clippy" the smart-*** paper clip), Gmail has been "deciding for me, what I should see (come on people, it doesn't have intuitive people skills)! In fact yesterday, I found a folder in Gmail called "hidden messages" and it had 2 messages in it, both hidden from ME!
I also got a call from a friend last week

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Go Back To The Basic Gmail.

I refused to set up my Gmail into the sectioned categories. I believe you have the option to go back to the email &spam original setup.

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Forget Gmail!

Why not use another mail program, i.e., Hotmail, where you can set up a useful amount of aliases. I have three aliases set up, which allows me to use one strictly for websites where I know I will get spam. Not only can you use names such as, but also You can then set up separate folders and direct each address to that folder by creating rules.

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I wouldn't go blaming the sender just yet.

Same things have been happening to me, ever since Google decided to split my inbox into 3 separate but impossible to understand, folders.
I am also getting no personal emails at all. All 3 folders are spam & news letters, and once in a while, a total stranger gets through.
I have just recently had my router hacked, so I assumed it was the attackers. I still think it could be, but I get nervous when my email app sends me an email bragging about their new-found case of ADD, so that now, they pay attention to every-other detail, instead of all of them.
I'm feeling really hemmed in by the whole Google franchise, and would appreciate suggestions at how I could communicate with people, without using a single Google product!
Sorry, that probably wasn't any help at all.
I miss my friends...
Best of Luck!

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No way I'd do that!!!

There is NO WAY I'd contact a stranger about this problem!! You don't know what this person is doing on the internet, they may even be part of a scam - even though I realize it may not seem that way. I'd play it safe and simply change my address, and notify all my contacts of the change, That is WAY easier that having a ID Theft criminal getting a hold on your life!! Shocked

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Me too .... and Google is no help.

I also set up my Gmail account back when it was beta/invite only. I am also getting email for another person with the same name. And not occasional, random emails, but numerous ones from family and friends. I will email them back and say "Wrong Person" but I can not get any answer from Google as to why this is happening, other than their canned reply. I'm guessing we are just stuck with the problem.

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Me too ... and it's not a google problem

I got several emails from a family group in Minnesota (I'm in Texas). Their father/grandfather and I have the same name and they just mistyped his (presumably similar) email address. The first few emails propagated through the extended family and it took a couple years of "Sorry, I'm not who you think I am" emails to get my email address out of the whole familiy's contacts.

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They are sending to wrong address

As several people have mentioned, google will not let anyone repeat a user email address, but and and are all the same address as far as google is concerned, and they are all used only by the one account. No one else can use any variation of, no matter what punctuation they use.

If you are getting real email to your address that is supposed to be going to someone else, then the senders are sending it to the wrong address. They're misspelling it, or forgetting a letter or numbers or something else. Maybe it's supposed to be going to or or But be assured no one is sharing your gmail address.

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I'd simply mark these emails as spam!!

You all may think that is cold, but how do you know it isn't? All this going around wondering what happened is just going to blow your address away permanently - better for the other guy to lose it. SORRY! We don't know if this is a scam or Google's fault and I vote it is a scam PERIOD!!

If that is too much for the average bear then simply change your address and issue a broadcast to your contacts - if this is unacceptable at least go to a competitor and see if your name will pass the muster over there, so you can at least keep your proper name as the first part of the address. That way only the domain changes. When it comes to email I get down and dirty, because that is the name of the game when it comes to business, why should it be any more fair for your personal life?

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Marking as spam stopped these for me...

When this suddenly cropped up for me on my long term gmail account, it left me scratching my head. I marked them as spam and they went away. Yes, they looked innocuous enough, but I am jaded perhaps and take the safe road.

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Maybe it was too long ago..

but I have email with all the big carriers, and I've always got spam that went to my spam or junk folder, with little action on my part - but then one of the first things I do is set my filters to either exclusive, or some notch below that, so I don't have to put up with all the extraneous mail. It has made no difference for years whether the email was my exact address, the filter still knew better than to let it land in my inbox - I'm really scratching my head on this one, but I remember there was a flood of "mail not deliverable" a few years ago, that turned out to simply be malicious activity from criminals on the internet - they probably were trying to black mail the email service with threats to bomb everyone's inbox with messages that the filters hadn't learned to block. I get less and less junk every year - the filtering should be better than that by now.

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That is just not true. My wife has an address and gets probably all of the emails from another person (sometimes very personal stuff including tax documents, very personal emails that are DEFINITELY not scam/spam, we basically know the whole life of this other person) -> the problem is not that google does not make a difference with the dots. The problem is that there are actually tons of person having access to the SAME account with different login credentials, that‘s a fact. And it is a problem Google has to solve, no one else! How f* hard is this to understand??
I recommended to my wife to immediately abandon her address - a law suit because of serious privacy violations will not really help against Google.
A shame!

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Re: account

Did you ask Google to solve it? What did they say?

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