Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Email Handle is Quite Popular

Many, many years ago I created a Google Mail account. I chose the simplest email address that I could think of at the time. Google Mail was still working on its old 'invitation only' model for email (Yes, I'm that old all of you millennials!), so I had no problems getting the email address I wanted.

I had been cruising along with that email address with no problems, except for all the spam that accumulates and the advertisements that clog up the system (even after I 'unsubscribe' from as much as I can). However, in the last year an unusual thing has happened: I am receiving random strangers' emails.

Here's how it started:

Last summer, I was notified via email that I would be receiving 'job search' updates to match the criteria I had selected. Trouble was, I did not create this job search for $7.50 an hour Walmart-type jobs in North Carolina on I think the name associated with this email was "Karin Gillenwater" or something similar. I ignored it.

Not more than a few hours later, I received another email from Taco Bell or McDonald's thanking me for applying for a job and that they would 'get back to me soon' about my application. I felt badly for "Karin Gillenwater" who had mistakenly given them my email address and hoped she could figure it out before she lost out on a job. There was no way for me to contact this person or let any of these sites know of the mistake as they used 'no-reply' email addresses to communicate.

I thought this would be a one-time boo-boo. I was wrong.

About 3 months ago, I received an email for another Gillenwater with the first initial 'K.' This was even sadder. It was a job offer a husband was sending to his wife! The attachment included the location of the job, salary and benefits information. Yikes!!!!  I immediately emailed the man to let him know about his mistake.

Yesterday, I received another one of these emails. This time for "Kyle Gillenwater" from Blizzard. This person had paid for an expansion pack for World of Warcraft. Inside the email was a code the guy needed to activate his expansion pack. Oh, my!

This was also from a 'no-reply' email address at Blizzard. Feeling badly for this person who spent $19.95 of his hard-earned cash for the upgrade, I went to Blizzard's website thinking I could contact someone about the error. All of the avenues wanted my 'Login ID,' which I did not have, since I was not a Blizzard customer. Eventually, I found my way to a trouble ticket area. I gave them my information and a phone number, and about 15 minutes later someone called me back. The customer service agent told me that he would find another way to contact the customer who had purchased the expansion pack.


To all the "K" Gillenwaters out there, please type your Google email very carefully! I am getting to know way too much personal information about a lot of you out there.

UPDATE 12/17/2014:  I just experienced a new mistake! This time I was contacted twice by "Speedy Cash" about a loan someone named "Kelsey Gillenwater" had taken out. The first email from early December was one thanking Kelsey for a payment of $48.50 from her bank also included her loan number. I immediately emailed the company and told them they had the wrong email address.

I received another email from Speedy Cash just this morning. They were unable to debit Kelsey's bank account for the next loan payment. Oops.  I called the company this time to get the email address removed. They actually argued with me for a bit about it; then, I mentioned the word "spam" and some other things. The customer service guy put me on hold and eventually got back to me and told me my email address had been removed from that account.

Good luck, Kelsey!  Hope you can get your loan payments straightened out!

UPDATE 1/8/2015: I am having fun keeping a running tally of all the weird emails I receive. Here is a new one: football coach! Yes, I received an email this morning from a guy applying for a job as a Defensive Line Coach at Furman University in South Carolina. Attached was his resume and a very nice cover letter for the head football coach at Furman. The odd thing was, the person to whom he was sending the resume & letter did not have my last name. It was a completely different I am mystified how this ended up in my email inbox.

I suppose this doesn't quite qualify as a 'mistake' in the same way as the others who were contacting a different 'K' Gillenwater. But I thought it was worthy of adding to my collection of misdirected emails.

Darryl, I hope you are successful in your job search!

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