The “Dot” in Your Gmail Email Address Doesn’t Matter

May 1, 2018 5:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The “Dot” in Your Gmail Email Address Doesn’t Matter

 

If you set up your Gmail address with a “dot” somewhere in the address it doesn’t matter.  You will still get your Emails if someone skips the “dot” altogether.

For example, if your email address is [email protected] and someone uses [email protected] you will still get the email.

While some e-mail providers allow for address variations using dots, Google has decided to ignore periods in its users’ e-mail addresses altogether. Translation: Any combination of your e-mail address with those little dots will be sent to the exact same inbox.

A post on Google’s help forums explains why. “Your e-mail address is unique; people can’t set up an identical account even with a different number or placement of dots.”

As for the other e-mail providers? The location of the dots matters for e-mails on Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Mail, and Apple iCloud. Dots don’t matter for Facebook, and they aren’t used at all for Twitter handles.

Now, knowing that I had to ask why when you sign up for a Gmail Email it states you can use numbers, letters and periods (which is a “dot” by the way).  See picture below. I guess we will never know.

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However, did you know Gmail has 2 versions? Yep, that’s correct, the consumer version and The G Suite version. See below from a forum on Google.

Gmail has 2 versions.

  1. The regular/consumer version which ends in Gmail.com or Googlemail.com:  Ignores dots/periods.
    • This has always been the case.
  2. The G Suite/Managed version: Does not ignore dots/periods.
    • This (you know it is coming :c) has always been the case.

That G Suite doesn’t ignore is not a secret.

Gmail on their consumer [1] SITE, “…If you use Gmail through work, school, or other organization…[i.e. G Suite]…dots do change your address…”.

So if you have a G Suite email from Google the “dots” do matter and if you have a consumer email (which you get by going to gmail.com) then the “dots” DO NOT matter.  If you have a G suite email you probably own a business or work for a company that uses G Suite.  Basically, if it’s a Personal email no “dots” and business email can have “dots.”

Now you ask why am I even bringing this up?  Well apparently, there is a  flaw in the logic that’s used between Google and the subscription service with Netflix.

Back in 2013, James Fisher signed up for Netflix using [email protected], an email address that Google considers the same as [email protected] because of the “dots don’t matter” feature in Gmail.

A person with a similar name in a different state had used this email address to sign up for Netflix. Something went wrong with the billing, and Netflix emailed the real Fisher, asking him to renew his credit card details, not knowing that someone else was behind the dotted version of the address.

Fisher was seconds away from renewing his credit card number – when he noticed something wasn’t right. He checked to make sure the email was genuinely from Netflix.com, and it was so he clicked on the link and logged into Netflix to update his Credit Card information.  He noticed that the old credit card ended in 2745 wasn’t a card he recognized, and he started to investigate further.

That’s when he realized the email address Netflix sent this notice to was [email protected]. And not [email protected] (the no dot version)

A simple dot in an email can cause Havok with Netflix.  Our point here is if you get an email from Netflix saying you need to make a payment please double check the bill to see if the card on file they have is actually yours.  This is an issue only for people using Gmail and Netflix.

As a rule of thumb, be wary of any email asking you to renew billing information. This Gmail/Netflix mix-up is a perfect example of a phishing scam created out of thin air by exploiting legitimate functionality in disparate services. Always check that all personal information in the mail is legitimate, and never supply your credit/debit card details, or renew your password, before double checking that it is indeed necessary to make such changes.

 

Stay safe,
Megabite

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This post was written by Karen

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