Monday, March 17, 2008

That's Why They Have Email Verification

The subject line was "Welcome to MySpace" and the message began:
Hi Andrea -- Thanks for joining MySpace!
Here's your account info for logging in:
Password: *******

It went on to provide a link for me to confirm the email address and open the account. I'd better make sure that I don't click the confirmation link or whoever set up the account is in business.

Ok, that's one of my email addresses, but my name isn't Andrea and I didn't open a MySpace account. What's going on? Is someone impersonating me? No, they're using my address and a different name. That's why the confirmation email came to my address. Lemme see what's going on here. I think I'll log in with the information provided in the confirmation message.

After I login, I go directly to the profile the person set up. Andrea says she's a 27 year old female from Cambridge, MA and that's all she has, but that's more than enough.

BTW - I've changed Andrea's name and location for obvious privacy reasons.

I'm going to assume that Andrea just made a typo on her email address. If her last name wasn't Wolinsky, I would have just gone to the account and canceled it and let her figure out what was going wrong, but I couldn't do that to someone with such a regal last name. :-)

With the little information she left, in about a minute, in a single search I was able to determine that she lived with her parents. I had their names, address, ages, and her phone number. A phone call and an email straightened thing out, but it just goes to show how things can go south in a serious way with the unintentional sharing of information.

In the end, no harm was done, everyone had a good chuckle, and I have another anecdote to tell in my presentations.

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