GMail contact - misroute / security issue

John Levine johnl at
Sat Sep 27 02:37:24 UTC 2014

>My wife is receiving someone else's emails.

Welcome to the club.

>Specifically she is receiving emails for <first name><middle 
>initial><last name> (no dots) when her email address is really 
><same first name>.<same middle initial>.<same last name> (dots).
>I don't know if this is a "feature" or a "bug", but either way, it's 
>disquieting my wife.  (Unhappy wife = unhappy life.)

Google is quite clear that they ignore dots in the mailbox name.

johnqpublic at gmail == john.q.public at gmail == j.o.h.n.q.p.u.b.l.i.c at gmail

>I view this as both non-RFC compliant behavior 

RFC 5321 says that the interpretation of the local-part in the address is
entirely up to the recipient host, so it's hard to imagine how this would
not be RFC compliant.

In practice, you can't fix stupid, so if your wife is feeling charitable,
she can write back and tell people she's not the guy they're looking for,
or else she can just report it all as spam.  If she writes back, be prepared
for people to insist that she must be the person they intended to write to.
My gmail address is my name, and my name is fairly common, so I get all sorts
of mail, including mail from a car dealer in Phoenix who was just sure that I
wanted to buy a car from him even though I live in upstate New York.


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