Email Hijackers

So what finally prompted me to download the Instagram app and sign up for an account? Some kid in Virginia who shares my name has been trying to associate my email address with his account repeatedly over the past couple days. After getting the third email about it (and disassociating my email from his account three times), I created my own account (jared_a_lee), found his profile (jared9lee), and left a comment on one of his photos kindly asking him to use his own email address for his account and stop trying to use mine.

You would think that that would’ve stopped him, but the next day he tried to assign my email to his Instagram account again. So I rejected that and then left another comment on his Instagram. Then he signed up for an account with Origin/EA gaming and linked it to his PlayStation account he also just signed up for a day earlier, which prompted another comment by me on his Instagram photo. The only options available to try to contact customer service for both companies was to use login information and then wait a long, long time for a CSR to live-chat me — just the way I wanted to spend part of my New Year’s Eve. The Sony CSR was thankfully quite helpful, however, and provided me with an email address, subject line, and instructions on what I should include in the body of my email to a specific department in order to get this issue resolved. Hopefully that’ll get resolved tomorrow when people are back at work.

Origin/EA was another story, however. The first CSR I live-chatted with last night was rude and dismissive, and his only real advice to me was to “get a different email address.” Umm, no. I’ve had this email address for 10 years or so, and I’m not going to get a different email just because some twit has started using my email on his accounts. Then he started asking me for the answers to this other kid’s security questions to prove my identity. This CSR was totally clueless! I told him that the only reason I was able to even log in to the customer service live-chat was that I was able to initiate a password reset/change — because he had used my email address for his account. (I would’ve reset the password on the Sony account too, except they require the account holder’s birthdate to do that.) Anyway, the Origin/EA CSR I was able to live-chat today was more helpful, but still only told me that I had to initiate a “call me” help session sometime after their call center returns from their holiday break. Ugh. So annoying. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my email banned from all accounts on their site tomorrow.

This is the actually the second unique person who’s tried to use my email address to sign up for all sorts of stuff. The other is a school teacher in Canada named Lee, who three years ago swore that Google let him sign up for my email address (minus the dot, but gmail ignores punctuation in email addresses, so they’re equivalent), and that he set up forwarding from that (my) account to his other email address. He did that because he wanted a “more professional” email address when applying for jobs than his When I asked him to change that setting, he said he couldn’t because he “couldn’t remember” the password to his (my) gmail one. Umm, riiiight. I’ve been getting occasional stuff for him (or his kids) for three years now, because for awhile he put it as the reply-to address in a bunch of emails he sent, thinking that he’d receive them. I even got a LinkedIn invite from him a bit over a year ago, lol.

Why would people think someone else’s email address is their own?!? Not being able to log in because they don’t know my password, my security challenge questions, or have my phone for two-factor authentication should be their first clue…

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