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  1. #1
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    Gmail account question

    Hello,
    This is my first post to Windows Secrets Lounge, even though I have been subscriber to Windows Secrets Newsletter for several years. I am a little confused on email addresses and hope someone can help me out. I have a few different gmail accounts that I use for different things. I have 2 of my gmail accounts that on both of them I have received someone else's email. Both of the emails I am talking about only have 1 character different. The first email account is only different by a (.) dot. Example: greengrass@gmail.com & green.grass@gmail.com. Mine is the one with the (.) dot and I have received email for the other acct without the (.) dot. I do not use that email very much. My other email that is really bothering me since I use it all the time is different by one letter being capital in one email address and the other being small case. Example: bluecow@gmail.com and Bluecow@gmail.com. My email address is the one that isn't capitalized. My fear is that the other people are getting some of my emails. Can someone help me understand how I could be getting someone else's emails and more importantly....is someone else getting my emails? What is best practice or rules for email addresses? I thought all lower case was best. Thank you in advance for your help. (I made up the email address examples to show how the real addresses differ)

  2. #2
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    First: Email is not case sensitive so there is no difference between bluecow and Bluecow, it is still your email.
    Second: Dots do make a difference, so it is possible for your email to be sent to someone else if people forget to add the dot.

    Email addresses can be typed manually and this is where you are likely to get mistakes. If someone replies to one of your emails the address will be correct.

    There is no "best practice" for email addresses, it's up to the individual / company, although having the address similar to your name does help when people have to type it.

    There isn't anything you can do about your mail ending up in the wrong place, it's up to the sender to get the address right.

    cheers, Paul

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  4. #3
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    Actually, homerjsimpson@gmail.com is the same as hom.er.j.sim.ps.on@gmail.com

    This article from Gmail will help to explain it...

    https://support.google.com/mail/answ...=forumwelcome1
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-04-10 at 11:56.

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  6. #4
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    Thank you both for your answers. The link that jwoods added was very helpful and makes me feel much better about my email. Again thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions.

  7. #5
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    For security reasons, both email addresses and passwords, should not contain your name, and should both be over eight characters in length and contain both letters and numbers.

    Those rules go all the way back to the very beginning of email, years ago.

    I didn't know that, about the dots in an email, I guess because I've never used them.

    I too use GMail, and I believe that you can cancel (remove) an email address at GMail, unlike some other providers.
    I have five GMail addresses and I've never had any reason to delete one.
    But, if I had your problem, I might consider it.

    Good Luck

    The Doctor
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  8. #6
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    Unlike other email companies, Google does not give any significance to the dot, hyphen, underscore or capitals in Gmail email IDs (everything to the left of the @). It’s a security thing.
    You can include them for readability of the address but you'll get the email whether they are included or not:
    joe.soap@gmail.com, joe_soap@gmail.com, joe-soap@gmail.com are all considered by Gmail to be one address: joesoap@gmail.com

    To answer your question: can other people get your email (or vice versa), the correct answer is no, BUT it is possible to receive emails where the address is similar to yours and the sender has made a mistake by adding or omitting a number etc. I can give you a classic example of this that occasionally occurs on one of my own addresses.

    I created a joke email address for myself and used a German sounding Christian/Surname, which, in English, has made every recipient howl with laughter - I won't say what it is or I'll get chucked off the forum for using inappropriate language. The Achilles heel of my joke address is that it turns out there is a real 'rudename@gmail.com' in Germany and, having found someone (me) had nabbed his first choice, had thus been forced to accept 'rude.name1@gmail.com'. Now the real 'Rude Name' is a member of a German sports association and I often get included in the membership emails of club fixtures and newsletters by mistake. And, obviously, they're all in German! I've had great fun responding back, in both German and English to ask them to adjust their addressbooks to reflect the real German 'Rude Name1' rather than me, the fake one, in Cornwall. One lovely Austrian lady, who clearly has excellent English, responded saying she'd howled with laughter when she realised what the name said in English - she also said that most Germans had very little grasp of what makes such things funny. A perfect example of this is their Motorway 'Exit' road signs which say 'Ausfahrt'.

    You can read about Google's security logic of removing their significance here:
    http://www.quora.com/What-is-Googles...mail-email-IDs

    Cheers, Chris

    P.S. I guess I could tell you the German guy's name though - after all he does exist so how could giving his real name cause offence?

    His christian name is Rudolph and his surname is Ecker
    Remember rule #1: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    Industrial electrical engineer, running a system building/repair business in Cornwall UK, for the last 15 years.

    Built my first computer in 1978 - in the days when you had to hand-solder in all the components
    and 16k RAM was considered extravagant!

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    hyphens and underscores

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Cooper View Post
    Unlike other email companies, Google does not give any significance to the dot, hyphen, underscore or capitals in Gmail email IDs (everything to the left of the @). It’s a security thing.
    You can include them for readability of the address but you'll get the email whether they are included or not:
    joe.soap@gmail.com, joe_soap@gmail.com, joe-soap@gmail.com are all considered by Gmail to be one address: joesoap@gmail.com
    I knew about the dot not making a difference in gmails - but didn't know about the underscore and hyphen, so I tried it by adding a hyphen to my own address and sent it to myself - likewise with the underscore. In both cases it didn't work, i.e. I got a message that it could not be delivered:

    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    [my_mailaddress@gmail.com]

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain gmail.com by gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com. [2607:f8b0:400d:c04::1b].

    The error that the other server returned was:
    550-5.1.1 The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please try
    550-5.1.1 double-checking the recipient's email address for typos or
    550-5.1.1 unnecessary spaces. Learn more at
    550 5.1.1 http://support.google.com/mail/bin/a...py?answer=6596 194si12741002qhs.8 - gsmtp
    The last link says among other things:

    "The email account that you tried to reach does not exist..."

    This error usually occurs when there are typos in the recipient's email address. Some common errors include the following:

    Quotation marks: <'username@gmail.com'> or <"username@gmail.com">
    Dots at the end of the address: <username@gmail.com.>
    Spaces before or after an address: < username@gmail.com>, <username@gmail.com >
    If you're sure there are no mistakes, the Gmail address may have been disabled, deleted, or never existed in the first place.
    I didn't make any of the above-mentioned mistakes, and - by the way - I got the message sent to
    [my.mail@gmail.com] (i.e. with the dot)

  10. #8
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    Yes toktok, since I made my post I saw another online item about Gmail security and you are quite right that hyphen and underscore are no longer ignored as is the dot.

    When I signed up for my initial Gmail addresses it used to pop up an advice box that definitely said that dot, hyphen, underscore and capitals were ignored but could be included for readability. Google have obviously changed their mind since then – perhaps because it limits the number of available accounts.

    As with all things ‘Google’ they chop and change everything without thought for the impact on users, or their wishes. You’ve probably noticed that they’ve recently changed ‘Contacts’ to a horrible format that has caused lots of protest with users. Furthermore, in setting up a new Gmail address for someone recently I failed to get their Outlook email client to send or receive mail, even though I was using settings that definitely work with older Gmail addresses. After much head scratching it turns out that Google has decided that most of the well known email client providers are not meeting Google’s security requirements – so you have to reduce the security in Gmail settings and ignore Google’s dire warning about doing so.

    ‘Google knows best’ apparently – I guess you can do that when you’re their size.
    Remember rule #1: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    Industrial electrical engineer, running a system building/repair business in Cornwall UK, for the last 15 years.

    Built my first computer in 1978 - in the days when you had to hand-solder in all the components
    and 16k RAM was considered extravagant!

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  12. #9
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    Google are running Internet security these days, according to themselves. Chrome will even refuse to connect to sites with SSL certificates provided by CNNIC.

    cheers, Paul

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    For security reasons, both email addresses and passwords, should not contain your name,
    Passwords, yes. But email addresses?

    99.999% of the world has one or more names in their email addresses. Billions of corporate users get no choice when allocated an address which includes their name(s).

    What's the insecurity?

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    - I was wondering about the same...

  15. #12
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    Give me your name, I can already determine your ISP, and with that info, I can find YOU, from either the phone book or public records.
    If you want to be found by every hacker, spammer or sicko in the world, go for it!

    Personally, I'd like to maintain some level of anonymity. But that's just me. You do what you will.

    The more complex your email address is, the less likely it will cross paths with someone else's email address.

    For the longest time, I used just one rather simple password for all my accounts. Then I found a program that would analyze my password and rate it as to how long it would take for a super-computer to break it. My original password could be broken in less than five minutes. My current password would take the worlds fastest computer, over a thousand years to break.
    That's security!

    Am I a security nut? Not really, but I am responsible for the security of all my customer's PC's, where I set up email accounts for them. So I try to discourage the use of a real name in an email address. And I also encourage the use of passwords, with at least 8 or more characters, including caps, numbers and even symbols, (@)where allowed. Using just caps and numbers interspersed throughout the password, some really high security can be achieved.

    Be SAFE, and Happy Computing!

    Experience is truly the best teacher.

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  16. #13
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    If you have a common name, how can somebody find your ISP through that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    Give me your name, I can already determine your ISP, and with that info, I can find YOU, from either the phone book or public records.
    If you want to be found by every hacker, spammer or sicko in the world, go for it!
    If you want to try, I'll PM you my two personal email addresses (which include my first and last name, initials and ISP) and await your reply with my street address.

    You would certainly be able to find where I work from my business email address. But that applies to every company worker in the entire world.

    It would be theoretically possible to find my home address from at least one site where my resumé is posted.

    But hackers and spammers don't care where I live, and I try not to annoy sickos.


    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    Personally, I'd like to maintain some level of anonymity. But that's just me. You do what you will.
    That's privacy, not security.
    Last edited by BruceR; 2015-04-19 at 15:14. Reason: é

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  19. #15
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    Angry gmail address.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    First: Email is not case sensitive so there is no difference between bluecow and Bluecow, it is still your email.
    Second: Dots do make a difference, so it is possible for your email to be sent to someone else if people forget to add the dot.

    Email addresses can be typed manually and this is where you are likely to get mistakes. If someone replies to one of your emails the address will be correct.

    There is no "best practice" for email addresses, it's up to the individual / company, although having the address similar to your name does help when people have to type it.

    There isn't anything you can do about your mail ending up in the wrong place, it's up to the sender to get the address right.

    cheers, Paul
    For a long time I have experienced just the same sort of problem, receiving mail to an address very similar, but certaily not the same as mine.
    Mine is name.name@gmail.com, but mail to namename@gmail.com is so common that I have set it as spam and never see it unless checking spam for missing mail. I gave up trying to stop it years ago by contacting google and the other person, but it now seems to carry nothing but spam anyway so the other party presumably gave up using it.
    Note that in my address the first name is a five letter female name and the second - after the dot - is a three letter male name. The address which keeps coming to me is by strange coincidence both the same five letter and three letter names combined as one. Mine is two people, seperated by a dot, the other is apparently a ladies christian and surname combined, but no dot !
    The only difference is a dot, so the problem is not involving just a dot, and gmail is at fault by directing mail to me with clearly the wrong address !

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