Weird email messages--what would the spam purpose possibly be?

So just in the last couple of days I got two messages at my “public facing” gmail address that clearly weren’t meant for me. The first was advising the recipient that getting a new engine was a better idea than getting it rebuilt, then a followup to that message. No addressee mentioned, nor was there a link or an image in it.

The other one, received just yesterday, was one in Spanish (which I speak) where a woman is chiding a “Juan” (my name is José) for having toyed with her affections and treated her badly, and looked to my eye to be actually addressed to a particular guy. Again, no link, no image, nothing. I considered marking it spam, but just deleted it.*

Someone explained to me once that sometimes companies will fake register your email on a website or forum just so you’ll visit the website which drives up their Alexa ranking or whatever. I get the spam purpose for that, but these two emails have me mystified. Just mistyped addresses I guess?

*Actually the latter could just be phishing, expecting a “white knight” response or something.

I occasionally get phone calls from a Chinese woman who sounds angry. She leaves a message, which of course, is not transcribed. ::shrug::

I gather those are scams meant for overseas Chinese to make them think the government back home has fined them or something and they’d better pay up. I’ve gotten those too, on occasion. But those are just another version of the “IRS” and “there’s been a court judgment against you” scams.

There’s at least two people out there in the habit of accidentally providing my email address to other people, I think there must just be one digit difference or something.

One is an Englishman living in Brazil who bizarrely has the same name and almost exact same birth date as me (I assumed it was identity theft but it’s just coincidence), the other is a presumably retired American gentleman who plainly has a lot of money as one time I received architectural plans for an enormous new house being built in Tennessee. Another time I received emails about some stock investment or something I didn’t understand. Sometimes I email the sender back to let them know, even had a very sweet little conversation with the investment opportunity guy where it turned out he had be on tour from the US to the UK with a choir and sung in a cathedral near where I live.

I got a “Your SS number has been used in fraud…” or whatever message on my phone. Is it bogus? Should I call them back?

Well, as long as you don’t give them your SS number, what’s the harm in wasting their time? ;-)

Its totally bogus. Read about that phone scam somewhere in the past few months.

I am in the same boat. As far as I can glean, there is a woman in Michigan who signs up for a lot of social events with my gmail address and a guy in the UK who was doing some fighter pilot training. I had to reply to one of the later ones saying they had the wrong address since it seemed like rather important and time-sensitive stuff.

Yeah, I get those on occasion also. Not spam, just mistaken identities.

If they keep doing it after being told I’m not their friend/relative/spouse, I respond with bizarre sexual come-ons involving bestiality and common condiments you might use on a ham sandwich.

At this point I’m good Internet acquaintances with a couple of the people whose email comes my way. Lovely people. And one idiot realtor who passed out hard-to-read business cards all over Montreal.

In my case it’s about 10 different people, and my name/email isn’t even that common. I suppose people are just clueless that way.

Some asshole in the world apparently thinks that my email is his… either he constantly forgets that his email is some other variation, or he’s intentionally giving out a false email address, which just happens to be mine. I was an early user of gmail, so my address is actually just my name.

Although, part of it is that some of this crap is being used for stuff that he would seemingly actually want to be getting the emails for. Like, for a while I was getting emails related to some youth hockey league on the other side of the country. I had to let them know a few times that the email address was wrong. The same goes for some other case where folks were sending emails out about some family crap.

It’s annoying to get random garbage spam from some other asshole using the address. Like apparently he used it to sign up for some kind of casino crap, so I started getting a ton of garbage spam related to that. Gmail catches all that crap, so I don’t generally see it, but when I periodically check my spam folder, it’s like, “Jesus christ, wtf.”

The problem is that I sometimes get a legit message, but I don’t realize it. Several days ago I had a women leave a message about my college loan payment. I was sure that I had finally paid it off.

I mentioned it to the wife. She told me that there was still a small payment that we sill had to do. I believe that the call was legit now.

Yup. For the longest time I’d occasionally get pics sent to 5 or six addresses of family gatherings and such. It’s too weird. Also on four or five occasions for about the last year I’ve gotten emails about bank stuff from someone in Italy named Donatella for someone named Daniele, with PDF attachments of their loan statements and tax payments or something. Despite having answered them (in Italian, even) saying “this is the wrong email, correct your contact info” this stupid person keeps doing it again maybe a month or two later.

Reply with really large attachments, like linux ISOs.

LOL, good idea!

(I wonder if there is an audio equivalent that works over telephone. Old, 1990s modem noises maybe?)

When I’m in a bad mood I “recover” those accounts and change the passwords.

I get messages now and then time for a guy named Jacques who shares my last name. He’s a truck driver, and half the time it’s important bill-of-lading, contract, or truck-inspection stuff, so I have to tell the sender they’ve got it wrong.

Usually, they’re understanding, but one time, the sender didn’t believe me. I’m picturing him sitting at a loading bay, waiting for a truck to show up that’s never going to.

I’ve done this at least once.

They do get creative. Recently I’ve gotten phishing scams disguised as LinkedIn “you’ve appeared in X number of searches this week” messages.