Why you really should be careful when you hand out your email address

About three years ago I received an email from the large Indian Cell phone provider AIRTEL with the subject “Your airtel Bill for airtel number: 0444*******”. Now, I don’t have an AIRTEL phone number, and I figured this was odd but it looked like a real bill. I still have the email, billing period 11/4 to 10/5/2012. And that was the start of my saga.

It said my airtel ebill was protected with a unique password and all that so I couldn’t do much so I ignored it.

But I called the number and spoke with some dude. His name is also Amrith. And I told him that he must have accidentally given Airtel my email address so would he please fix it. He muttered something and hung up.

Shortly thereafter I received email from ICICI with a life insurance policy for “BEENA P”. There was some link which took me to their online site and I’d have to login and register and stuff which I didn’t have any way of doing.

Over the past three years I have received numerous emails from Airtel asking for payment on the landline which I replied to and said I wasn’t the person. Later I replied and said they should cancel the telephone line. They sent me email saying they were sorry to see me go. I called Airtel support and told them what was up and the dweeb I spoke with couldn’t figure out what to do with me so they said they’d email the customer. And yes, I got that email.

Over the years, I have canceled the phone service numerous times, it gets reactivated. I have received numerous statements for Beena’s insurance policy but now they send encrypted PDF’s with a password. The password is the first four letters of Beena’s name (BEEN) presumably and the date of birth as DDMM. OK, I’m bored but not that bored and I didn’t have the patience to try the 366 possible combinations to figure out what the right one was so I ignored it.

And each time this dipshit gives ICICI and Airtel my email address.

Today I got an email from ICICI wishing Beena P a happy birthday!

Would someone who knows someone at ICICI who has a slightly non-trivial job title please put me in touch with that person?

Oh, the PDFs which are all sitting in my GMAIL (we all know google never deletes anything) contain a policy number and all you need to create an online profile with ICICI is a policy number and a date of birth.

One thought on “Why you really should be careful when you hand out your email address”

  1. I was the first person to register for Google mail with my particular name, so I got it, with no digits or peculiar suffixes. Now I get mail for lots of other people with my name, probably because they forget to use their digits, or someone copies it wrong. I’ve gotten other people’s plane reservations, copies of medical records, diplomatic documents, notifications of overdue library books, auto maintenance reminders, confirmations of job interviews, invitations to class reunions, detailed sales offers, drafts of contracts, and Facebook membership notices.

    Sometimes it’s possible to find and inform the actual person, usually not. When not, I try to take action. The airline company was uncooperative, so I canceled the reservations. Hm. What happened when that couple showed up at the airport? I know they didn’t get the mail confirming the cancellation — I did! I closed the Facebook account. What did the guy think caused that?

    There’s also a certain amount of malicious misuse of my address by people who aren’t spammers or phishers, but apparently just think they’re doing something funny. Sometimes it’s possible to fix that. Luckily most of that stuff ends up in the spam folder anyway.


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