General Question

raum's avatar

What should I do about these emails?

Asked by raum (11433points) 1 month ago from iPhone

So I have a pretty common name. And I happen to have FirstnameLastname@gmail.com, which means I get a ton of email that isn’t mine.

I used to keep a folder of contacts for my email doppelgängers to forward important emails. (I could narrow it down by location.)

But after arguing with one of them, I just stopped putting in the extra effort. Now mostly I just delete them.

Today I found four emails in my inbox of scanned images. Two are of a woman’s Ukraine passport.

The third is of a Homeland Security message with instructions on how to seek parole.

And the third is of a scanned CA DL of a different woman.

The email address it’s coming from is C17CPKRm1147@ssa.ocgov.com (I googled it and didn’t get any hits.)

What should I do with these emails? Ignore? Reply? Report?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

janbb's avatar

That’s not a valid government domain so it’s some kind of scam. I would either report it to your email provider as a scam or just delete them.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I have the same problem (I may have mentioned it here in the past) – my name is close to other names and I get their prescirption notifications, credit card bills, shipping notices, and so on.

More than one, I received confidential legal papers from some law firm.

I used to try and do the ‘decent’ thing and notify the person (a lot of them are easy to find). But people are rude and ungrateful (and they don’t know how to read!) and they were pissed off at me for telling them that they had used the wrong email address. After that, I quit trying.

About the law firm one: I emailed the lawyer directly and told him of his error. He was profusely grateful and very appreciative of my response. And he told me to delete it.

raum's avatar

@janbb I didn’t get a hit on the email itself. But I did find:
https://ssa.ocgov.com/

Maybe I’ll try to find a contact from this site?

raum's avatar

@elbanditoroso Yeah, most have been pretty grateful. But after arguing with one about whose email this belongs to, I tapped out. I’m literally receiving your emails. What is there to discuss?

raum's avatar

Couldn’t find an email contact. So I just called them to ask if this is a legit email address format for their domain. It’s not. Seems like a bot sending out emails to make people think that there are people seeking parole from Ukraine.

What a weird world we live in.

Zaku's avatar

It is the Orange County, California, social security administration.

Looks to me like it may be someone there, but them sending out scanned documents seems rather peculiar. And C17CPKRm1147 seems like a spam account… but not at that domain.

Is there no body text?

What is the return email address? Is it different? That is, if you Reply, what ends up in your To: line of your draft?

raum's avatar

I didn’t realize that they could redirect reply to address. When I hit reply it goes to the same address. Still a very interesting thing to check in the future.

No text in body. Subject line was “Message from KM_300i” (No Google hit on “KM_300i”.)

raum's avatar

California DL seems to be of a real person (from a quick Google search).

Zaku's avatar

Since ocgov.com is really the domain of Orange County, an email reply to them is probably ok unless some hacker has compromised them. It might just be that they have anonymized outgoing email addresses available to their staff.

i don’t think you have much to lose by replying to that email address asking who emailed you and/or letting them know they sent legal documents to the wrong person. Of course, you could also just ignore it and let them figure it out.

Another place that might make sense to email might be one of the people listed at https://ssa.ocgov.com/abuse-reporting/child-abuse-services-team-cast/contact-us .

If you like, I’ll try replying to that address, and/or the other two, to inquire.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’d probably reach out to my local FBI office just due to the nature of the situation possibly involving government agencies, and Ukrainian documents etc. If it’s a scam, then it wouldn’t hurt for them to be made aware of it.

Also there could be scam addresses that look the same but are using the Cyrillic alphabet.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@raum I have the exact same problem. I got my Gmail address many years ago and didn’t think that there were so many people on the planet with my same name. Now I know.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that [firstname]dot[lastname]at[gmail]dot[com] will create a new email account. It doesn’t. I get those emails, too.

I once received an email from someone who appeared to be a friend of another Jake in Australia. I emailed the friend back explaining the situation asking the friend to contact his Jake to change his email address. The emails stopped for a long time.

I get notices from Australian Rail and from tourism services in the UK. I delete all those.

As for your situation, I suggest you delete them. It sounds harsh, but it’s not really any of your business why they can’t manage their own email. Delete and forget.

LostInParadise's avatar

I don’t understand how two email accounts can have the same name. I thought that you would not be allowed to create an account with the same name as an existing account. Otherwise everyone with the same account name would get everyone else’s email.

gorillapaws's avatar

@LostInParadise Read the link I posted. They could be using the Cyrillic alphabet.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@LostInParadise
it’s that people aren’t paying attention.

Example (and this is NOT my real address)

- let’s say my email address is bobsmith@gmail.com
– someone else has bob-smith@gmail.com
– someone else has bob,smith@gmail.com
– someone else has rob.smith@gmail.com

The person sending the email types it in wrong so it goes to me by mistake.

LostInParadise's avatar

Thanks, that makes perfect sense. When I created my gmail address using my name, I made a typo. That may have been a blessing in disguise.

JLoon's avatar

Not good, and likely not safe for your own security & privacy. Any cyrillic or other foreign alpha stuff is a red flag for the reasons @gorillapaws mentions.

If it were me I’d report messages to sources in Orange County gov:
https://www.ocsheriff.gov/about-ocsd/stay-safe-oc/scams

Then scrub your comp & any other devices thoroughly to eliminate malware.

Good luck.

raum's avatar

I ended up finding an email form on https://ssa.ocgov.com, explained the situation and asked for an email address to forward the documents. Just in case it was actually from them and time sensitive.

They looked into it and it turns out it’s not a scam. Someone just sent the documents to me by mistake. Now they’re asking me to fill out a form to declare that I’ve deleted all files. And to fill out an attestation form.

But in the email, in orange, it says:
Attention: “This email originated from outside the County of Orange. Use caution when opening attachments or links.“

I received two emails from them. And only one email has this warning in orange.

What the heck?

raum's avatar

The two emails CC another person. I googled both names and they seem to be legit employees.

At this point, I’m thinking of just deleting the emails and not opening the file for the attestation form. Are there any consequences to that?

gorillapaws's avatar

First, I’m not a lawyer. With that said, I don’t believe anyone can compel you to sign anything except a judge in a lawful court order. They can certainly request it, and you are welcome to do so or just put it in your own words, but it would be completely voluntary on your part.

jca2's avatar

I would delete them and there shouldn’t be any consequences to worry about because the intended recipients are not you, and even t hough they may have the same name, they’re different people.

JLoon's avatar

In the US, all emails originating from genuine government sources have an address ending in .gov – not .com, or any other suffix.

janbb's avatar

@JLoon That was what I said in my first post but apparently it’s not true for Orange County, CA for some strange reason.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Also, USPS ends in dot com.

JLoon's avatar

@janbb, and @Hawaii_Jake – Looks like that’s correct, but probably only adds to confusion for @raum in trying to sort out the problem.

Apparently several city & county governments in Cali switched their web addresses following a major hack in 2006 that caused Feds with GSA to suspend access to .gov domains in California :
https://www.computerworld.com/article/2539247/feds-pull-the-domain-name-plug-on-state-of-california.html

So Orange Co and cities like Anahiem went to .com or .net as a workaround. Fine for their own operations, but as @raum is finding out not much help for the average person just trying to avoid spam.

Oh well…

janbb's avatar

@JLoon I agree. I was surprised that it was a legit domain.

As for @raum ‘s dilemma, I don’t know what I’d advise at this point.

JLoon's avatar

@janbb – Yeah. I got nothing, except tune up that firewall.

Oh, and just to make the party more fun – There are 7 other “Orange” counties in the US.

jca2's avatar

@JLoon: My former employer (a County in NY) used a .com email address. I can’t say which it was here but it’s a very large county.

raum's avatar

I’ve just decided to ignore the emails. They’ve been notified and can do what they need to do. And hopefully will be more mindful in the future with their legal documents.

janbb's avatar

@raum I think that makes sense. The onus isn’t on you to take care of their problems.

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