From time to time I receive emails intended for someone else with a similar email address. This has been going on now for years and in the meantime I've gotten a pretty good picture of this person. I can say for sure that this person exists and I know quite a bit what's going on in his life. Therefore I can clearly differentiate a random phishing attempt from an honest email meant to reach this specific person.
In past I often contacted the senders to inform that they are using the wrong address.
It wasn't that big deal for me until today, when I received an email including very personal details about him, including all his contact information and his private address. The email itself is like an automated confirmation that they have received his data correctly, sent by email@example.com so no answer is required nor meant to do so.
For me there are three options:
Contact the sender to inform them about the mistake.
- I don't really like this option in the first place because I feel like it's not my responsibility to explain to those random people behind firstname.lastname@example.org that they have provided me private information about one of their customers.
Contact the intended receiver and inform him about the mistake and possibly say to be more careful with the use of his email address.
- I feel uncomfortable using information I'm not meant to know to get into contact with him. It's like opening a neighbour's letter, reading it and then passing it on to him, explaining that I had to read the letter to make sure it belongs to him.
Ingnore the email.
- There's a risk of receiving further emails with even more personal details. Could I then get in trouble for not reporting it and therefore intentionally waiting for more information?
- I receive emails intended for another person, which provide some very personal data.
- I can tell for sure that these emails are no random phishing attempts.
Do I have to report this mistake to any of the parties by law? Or would it be more like an act of kindness?