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The perils of mistyping your email address

The BBC has a piece today about the perils of mistyping your email address on registration forms. Apparently, someone wasn’t paying attention and made an error while applying for access to their credit report. This had the unfortunate consequence of providing someone else full access to their credit history.

It just happened that this someone else was a BBC editor. Who was shocked enough to order that an item be written so people will be more aware, and it never happen again.

On a serious note, it is worth double checking you typed the correct email address on a registration form. Many websites use your email address as the account username and allow you to start using their service before the address has been verified via the link they send to you. If that email is wrong – you type @hotmail.com instead of @hotmail.co.uk – then there’s a good chance someone else might receive the verification and access to your personal data along with it. While the chances of that person using your data maliciously are slim, it’s not a risk I’d take myself.

For people less confident with digital services, remembering an email address can be just as difficult as remembering passwords. I’ve seen mistyped addresses happen often enough on the websites I manage for it to justify an extra field in the registration form asking people to retype their email address. Naturally, some folk will just copy and paste from the previous box and wonder why they can’t login on their next visit.   

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