Lately I have been receiving unexpected validation/confirmation mails from various social media and/or e-commerce sites, asking me to validate my account or giving me the overview of my last order. I never registered to those social media, nor I ordered items on that site.

I checked all the usual suspects for a scam mail (hyperlink previews seem legit, grammar and syntax is ok, etc.), the only thing these mails have in common is that at the very end they have the disclaimer

This mail has been sent to namesurname@gmail.com [...]

while my address is name.surname@gmail.com

Are these real phishing mails, or is it a problem with how Gmail addresses the mails?

  • Were you expecting these emails? Did you order anything and then get the emails? Or are you surprised to be getting these emails at all? – schroeder Jan 24 '18 at 16:25
  • Gmail is "dot blind" - it'll send emails to addresses that match the name without dots. – Polynomial Feb 1 '18 at 14:39

I'm assuming these are unsolicited "confirm your email" or "thanks for creating your account" emails, indicating that someone has used the email address in the body to open an account or place an order.

In order to avoid confusion between john.smith@gmail.com and johnsmith@gmail.com, GMail explicitly ignores any dots in an email address. In this case, they are just using a different way of spelling the same account. If you have an even slightly common name, this occurs quite frequently because somehow some people do not know how to spell their email address.

You can confirm that the address it was really sent to matches the one in the body if you click the drop down menu on the right hand side of the GMail message and click "show original". This includes all the routing headers for the email, which would show what email address GMail is attempting to use for delivery.

  • @schroeder, it was not clear to me that a non-Google account was using these. I assumed these were people signing up with the wrong email address (variation of the OPs with dots) for various services. Perhaps I misunderstood the question. – David Jan 24 '18 at 16:23
  • Hm, I did not consider that angle. Regardless, you don't mention that angle in your answer. I asked the OP for clarity. – schroeder Jan 24 '18 at 16:26

Gmail interprets username and user.name as the same account, so to me it's looking good.


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