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Started by LilacWine on 19-Jan-2017 16:53:51
Weird gmail issue

So this happens to me every so often, and has happened again today. My name, for the purposes of this thread, is Lilac Wine, and I use a gmail address that's, let's say,, which contains only part of my actual name. Once in a while, however, I will mistakenly receive emails addressed to a woman in Canada called Lavender Wine, which are sent to the address Does anyone have any idea why they might be coming to me?

tasselhoff - 19 Jan 2017 17:13:25 (#1 of 36)

I used to get Hotmail for someone else with my name. I just replied telling them they got the wrong T Hoff.

tasselhoff - 19 Jan 2017 17:14:50 (#2 of 36)

They came in clusters so I'm guessing a bunch of people in a meeting or whatever shared the wrong address.

LilacWine - 19 Jan 2017 18:26:06 (#3 of 36)

But the address the email is being sent to is not my address. The sender is sending the email to the other person at, but for some reason it's getting rerouted to me at The two addresses are completely different, and the only thing I share with the intended recipient is a surname.

widenation - 19 Jan 2017 18:33:14 (#4 of 36)

Happens to me occasionally. Gmail is a bit weird - especially with 20+ message emails with multiple contributors for example. I don't think Gmail is unique when it comes to the problem you mention however. It's never concerned me anyway.

FluffyKitten - 19 Jan 2017 18:34:21 (#5 of 36)

Is it possible that it's just a spam? Because I occasionally get mailed that claims to be addressed to someone else at my place of work, but it turns out everyone got it - it's a mass mailing.

LilacWine - 19 Jan 2017 18:48:26 (#6 of 36)

No, it's usually from a Canadian children's nursery, and they said thanks when I said it had come to the wrong address.

tasselhoff - 19 Jan 2017 19:07:45 (#7 of 36)

Ah, weird. You may want to have a look at the email headers in more detail (or get a nerdy friend to).

Bonusy - 19 Jan 2017 22:26:56 (#8 of 36)



Any other characters involved in the actual addresses you are referring to? + and . for example.

At gmail, lovelywine@ is the same as or even l.o.v.e.l.y.w.i.n.e@ and any such combination. And your username prefixed by [anyalphanumerics]+ is also the same. eg lilac+lovelywine@

airynothing - 19 Jan 2017 22:35:27 (#9 of 36)

Is it possible that your alter ego has an additional email address of, say,, and that this is in the bcc field, but had been mistyped?

I very often get emails at my address of, say, which are actually intended, I have worked out, for Frequently from a chap lambasting me for taking away his kids and refusing him contact, which is awkward.

I did reply to him once and tell him he had the wrong person, but he accused me of trying to lead him further up the garden path, probably so I could continue cavorting with my fancyman. After that I didn't bother again.

LilacWine - 20 Jan 2017 09:49:49 (#10 of 36)

There are no punctuation marks in either address. I've made them as close to the real ones as possible.

I remembered last night that I have a long-forgotten address, which I thought might be causing the confusion, as I tend to set any extra addresses to forward to the lovelylilac45 address. However, I've just checked it and the emails aren't coming to that address at all, so presumably that's not the problem.

This is not a big issue, obviously, it's just that I can't figure out why it's happening. Presumably gmail is getting confused because we have the same surname, but I don't know why that should be.

Bonusy - 20 Jan 2017 10:05:36 (#11 of 36)

A surname isn't going to confuse gmail, the whole of the string before that @ symbol is the username and that is always unique on a system.

Viewing the full headers would give a better idea of exactly what is going on (as tass suggested).

LilacWine - 20 Jan 2017 10:08:04 (#12 of 36)

Hmm. I wonder whether this is it, then. It says "Mailed by" As it happens, I do have an address.

LilacWine - 20 Jan 2017 10:14:44 (#13 of 36)

OK, so that's part of the mystery solved. I've just checked the tiscali address (for the first time in years), and the emails are actually coming to and being automatically forwarded to I'd forgotten I'd set that up. I'm not quite sure why they're coming to tiscali when they're being sent to, however.

thisonehasalittlehat - 20 Jan 2017 10:16:14 (#14 of 36)

I reckon has set up an autoforward to their tiscali account and got it wrong. Realising this they've set up, but the odd message is still going to their old account. I'd set up your tiscali account to auto-block; or more fun auto-forward back to

thisonehasalittlehat - 20 Jan 2017 10:17:09 (#15 of 36)

Maybe you can bring down the whole internet that way.

tasselhoff - 20 Jan 2017 10:17:44 (#16 of 36)

You can't

thisonehasalittlehat - 20 Jan 2017 10:19:51 (#17 of 36)

I know.

LilacWine - 20 Jan 2017 10:20:42 (#18 of 36)

OK, well it's certainly a bit less puzzling now. I thought it was odd that gmail should be getting confused by surnames.

Policywatcher - 21 Jan 2017 12:31:02 (#19 of 36)

> Once in a while, however, I will mistakenly receive emails addressed to a woman in Canada called Lavender Wine, which are sent to the address

The other possibility is spam, sent "to" the named person, but BCCd to a list of names that are close to each other in some larger target list - one of which is yours.

The spammer hopes that if the name is close enough, a lot of people won't notice, and will click on it anyway.

By not having a large To or Cc list, they avoid triggering the defences that your own AV might have, that look for large to or cc lists on incoming mail. A receiving AV can't of course see a large BCC list.

Such spam is often sent by botnets, and by sending in batches, they hope to get a lot more emails sent out; they have to keep the numbers reasonably low in case any AVs in the sending bot PCs spot either the large bcc list or the repetition of large numbers of very similar emails.

FluffyKitten - 21 Jan 2017 14:10:53 (#20 of 36)

That was my thought as well, PW.

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