Last week I posted about keeping your online identity separate from your real life and wondered whether it was possible. I know that being online comes with a risk, and that the only way to protect your data is to not be online at all. Actually, I’m not sure that’s even true, given how many companies sell our data. I mean, my mortgage bank could sell my data, my insurance company, my credit card company – you name it, they’ve probably sold it. And everything is hackable – everything. So the best we can do is try to be risk-aware, and be as safe as possible.
But it’s always something.
A couple of days ago, I got an email from Reddit asking me to verify my email address. Problem – I didn’t sign up for a Reddit account. Immediately suspicious of a phishing attempt, I looked at the email sender’s address – an https link to reddit.com. I looked at the verify link – also an https link to reddit.com. And the third link (again, an https link to reddit.com) – one to click on to say that it wasn’t me who had set up this account. Which means this happens often enough that companies like Reddit know to include that last option.
Now, I have no idea why someone would need to use my email to open a Reddit account. I mean, email addresses are free and easy to get from a variety of sources. So why mine? I have had this happen before, with another email. Someone shopping at Lulelemon (someplace I would never shop) used one of my email addresses and I got not only spam emails (which I’m assuming was the point of not using their own email address), I also got their purchase receipts. With name, address, phone number, etc. Now, those could have been someone else’s too, I suppose, but it seems dumb to avoid spam by using someone else’s email address and then hand that person your (possible) personal information.
So, I managed to let Reddit know that it was not me who had signed up for the account and they have removed my email. However, since using other people’s email addresses is apparently a thing, for my own peace of mind, I’m going to take some preemptive action. I’ve been putting off signing up for social media accounts because – well, honestly, because I don’t like social media. I know I’m going to have to use it eventually, though, and this has just precipitated my signing up.
At the very least, signing up will ensure that no one else can try to use my email for those sites, even if I never use them myself. Which, for many of them, I likely won’t. It still won’t keep people from trying to use my email, but hopefully it will make it just a little more difficult to succeed.
Have you ever had this happen to you? How did you resolve the issue?