Talk:1279: Reverse Identity Theft

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 14:29, 18 October 2013 by (talk)
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My first attempt at an explanation. I have actually received emails designed for someone else because we had the same name and the sender missed a crucial difference between my email address and the intended recipient. Grahame (talk) 05:39, 18 October 2013 (UTC)Grahame

AFAIK if you have adress [email protected], then gmail delivers all mails in shape [email protected] to your box. So the trick is to make address like [email protected], then heavily use [email protected] to the point, that other people catch up an for example Joe Smith instead correct [email protected] will write [email protected] - which would end in your mailbox then. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Good explanation, except gmail only allowes usernames between 6 and 30 characters (and doesn't allow + in username). I would assume that this was true even before this strip and it's not so hard to verify, so Randal probably speaks about addresses like [email protected] being mistakenly used by other Joe Smiths. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:55, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

I don't get this. When you're creating an account, every e-mail service provider checks to see if the username is available, and only lets you create an account if your username's unique. This kind of issue can happen if you then go around and enter a wrong e-mail ID whenever you sign up for something, or if the company automatically assumes an e-mail ID without asking you (I don't think the latter happens). It shouldn't matter if a provider (GMail for instance) ignores everything after a certain character (+) while determining recepient, or even if it ignores an entire character (.) - all this should've been taken care of when you signed up in the first place. 08:50, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Exactly, it's about entering wrong e-mail ID. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:55, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure the "+" in the comic refers to a simple concatenation of first initial and last name (e.g., [email protected]), not a literal + character (as in [email protected]). 09:04, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

No, because then it should be [First initial][Last name] instead of [First initial]+[Last name] (talk) 10:20, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Taking the plus sign as a literal character does not make very much sense. GMail would ignore [Last name] behind it and deliver the message to [First initial], which is no valid address at all due to the limit of 6 characters. Also, it is fairly uncommon to use a plus sign in an email address, and the joke of the comic relies on the pattern being generic. LotharW (talk) 11:28, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The point of the comic is that old people forget their email address and regularly give other people the wrong email address. So when they register for something, like online notifications of a phone bill, Joe Smith puts down [email protected] even though his email address is a different variation on that.

Some of them might not even have an email address. They might easily believe that email addresses are assigned automatically, somewhat like street addresses or telephone numbers. Which is not so very far-fetched, since in the early days of the Internet your provider gave you an email address when you signed up for an Internet connection. Many might also think that an email address is reserved for the person with the corresponding name, instead of their having to claim it. LotharW (talk) 12:17, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

[First Initial]+[Last Name] is the same as [ FIailnrst]+[ LNaemst]. Then he is clearly referring to names such as IrinaN or FanniL. Xhfz (talk) 13:24, 18 October 2013 (UTC) This is a joke, and the plus sign means concatenation.

The plus sign is clearly an indication of concatenation and not meant as a literal character. 14:29, 18 October 2013 (UTC)