I signed up for Google’s Gmail service in the early beta and was very happy to receive the nice, easy to remember jhanley alias. This has turned out to be a bit of a mixed blessing.
As Gmail has become more popular, I’ve started receiving frequent emails for John Hanley, Jessica Hanley, Jane Hanley, Joe Hanley, and many more. And for the most part, these people are entering the wrong email address themselves!
I’ve received funeral condolences, “pen pal” letters, very personal family information, personal financial information, login information for test scores, scads of logins for commercial sites. You name it, I’ve seen it.
I try my best to contact someone to let them know they have the wrong address, but sometimes there’s no return address. In that case, the best I can do is cancel the account/subscription and hope they’ll get a clue.
Please – everyone – take some time to learn what your email address is and try to enter it correctly! Otherwise, you might unwittingly send some very personal details to some poor confused stranger out there in Internet land.