Friday, May 15, 2009

PSA: Making Up Emails

Public Service Announcement: When you use a fake email to create an account somewhere, you are running the risk that a) you'll forget your password and won't be able to retrieve it and b) that email exists already and the person who owns it might just try to create an account on the same site.

I just had a curious experience when I went to use an online service that I couldn't recall using before, only to find an account for my email already existed. Thinking maybe I'd signed up and forgotten, I requested a password reset, and then logged in and took a look at the profile. Hmmm, yeah, that isn't me.

Now I have access to someone else's profile, and without deliberate malice, I have changed their password so that they can't get back in to the account. The organization uses the email address as a gateway, and if the original creator tries to re-reset their password... the link will go to my email, and they won't be able to follow up.

So that leaves me wondering what I ought to do now. Change the profile info and proceed? Create a new profile with a different email address (not what I'd choose, I use this specific address for a lot of web services and I prefer to keep them all together)? Post a doofy picture and leave strange messages for this person's in-service contacts? At any rate, take a lesson from this unfortunate person, and if you don't want to be bothered with spam, create a separate email for service accounts and never bother to check it, rather than entering a random address and hoping for the best.

1 comment:

Wes said...

Two things:

1. Someone else appropriated your account; you owe them nothing. Might you have originally created it and someone else hijacked it?

2. For sites you don't care to maintain a personal presence, try bugmenot: