A small typo in the email address can be enough to ruin your vacation

Many people use free email services from companies like Google and Microsoft on a private basis. There are so many people using these services that if you only change, add or omit one or two characters in the account part of the address, chances are high that you now have another account’s address. valid.

This can lead to important emails not reaching the intended recipient, but also to sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands, if you or someone else makes a slight mistake.

The other day I received such an erroneously sent email from a seemingly nice hotel in Paris, which, among other things, promises a view of the Eiffel Tower. The email was a booking confirmation for a few days stay in August for two named people. One of the people – the one who had booked the trip – was a man with the same last name as me.



The hotel reservation that was sent to the wrong email address. Screenshot: Digi.no

E-mail address in case of problem

I was pretty early when Gmail launched and got, among other things, the account name which consists of just my last name (@gmail.com). Over the past few years, this account has received a lot of misdirected emails. I can see this because the actual recipient’s name is sometimes given in messages. But there is almost no other contact information.


On a few occasions, where sensitive material was involved – eg bank details, I tried to contact the sender to tell them what had happened. In some cases, but far from always, I have received a response with the promise that something will be done.

But the amount of misdirected e-mails is so large that I could not do it every time, for example B….. Rombach has made an appointment at the hairdresser or receives requests for donations of the Republican Party. Other than her name and the US state she lives in, I have no contact information for this woman. What his real email address is, I don’t know. But I guess it’s similar to mine. Why she gave my email address to many companies, and not hers, so I don’t know.

But she is far from the only one.

Found mobile number

Back to the booking confirmation I received. It contained both the booking reference, a pin code and a link to a page where I could change or cancel the whole booking. There was also a page for changing guest details, and on this I found a Canadian mobile number for “Herr Brombach”, a German.

On Wednesday night, I texted him about what happened and asked him to send me his real email address so I could forward the confirmation. It didn’t take many minutes before I got a response, where he thanked me and gave me his email address.

Luckily he didn’t think I was an impostor.


One additional character

As promised, I sent him the confirmation, but I haven’t heard from him since. But I can see that he still hasn’t changed the email address in the contact information the hotel has for him. I hope he gave me the correct email address – the same as mine, but with an extra letter right after the last name. If not, the booking confirmation has now been forwarded to another wrong recipient – possibly someone who can do some harm. As mentioned, it is entirely possible to cancel or modify the reservation with the information contained in the e-mail.

Ask for confirmation

So it’s easy to get a little typo in the email address, although many browsers can help by remembering email addresses you’ve used before and listing them.

Typically, when you order something online, you receive an email confirmation. If after a few hours you still haven’t received a confirmation, something is wrong. In this case, it may be a good idea to ask for confirmation, at least if it concerns something important, such as when you have booked a hotel stay abroad.


Ralph Hutchinson

"Creator. Communicator. Twitter evangelist. Passionate couch potato. Thinker. Pop culture aficionado. Award-winning web junkie."

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