Fifth Third Bank E-Mails Me Every Day. I'm Not A Customer

Ed gets a daily account alert e-mail from Fifth Third Bank. Keeping up-to-date on your accounts is important, but that seems a little excessive. …Oh. What’s that you say, Ed? You don’t even have an account with Fifth Third Bank? Your e-mail address is associated with someone else’s account and you don’t know how to fix it?

The account in question is a Gmail account, and it’s most likely that another customer with a similar name to Ed’s gave the bank his address by mistake. Sure, he could set up account filters, but why is it Edit’s responsibility to keep someone else’s banking info out of his inbox?

For just over a year I’ve been receiving daily email alerts for my non
existent account at 5th Third Bank. I reached out to them when I first
received the emails via email, phone and went to a local branch. No
one could help so I tagged the email as spam, out of sight, out of
mind. Until this week my spam filter no longer blocked them and they
were arriving in my inbox. Today I called 5th Thrid Bank to try again
to get this stopped.

My first call I left a message and was told I’d get a call back. The
return call was from a branch and was advised I would need to call
Internet Banking.

On the phone with Internet Banking and was stunned when she asked for
my SSN. Advised her again I’m not a customer and just want the emails
to stop. She said she had to confirm I wasn’t a customer. Huh? Did
give her my zip code and after being on hold was advised I’m not a
customer. Brilliant. She then asked if the unknown bank customer and I
could have the same email address. Huh again.

She also could not transfer me to a supervisor and advised I would
need to stay on hold the entire time she tried to help me. It had
already been 15 minutes and told her I could not provide any new
information and to please stop the email on behalf of their customer.

If you read the email it tells to to reply if you are getting it in
error but later it reads do not respond. Responding to the email just
kicks it back.

Any ideas as to how to get this stopped?

The flaw with flagging these messages as “spam” is that Gmail’s spam reporting goes for everyone, not just you: other people could be getting their legit account alerts sent to spam. Setting up actual filters within Gmail is the only way to keep them out of your face. A regular snail mail letter or calling Internet Banking back to see whether someone who understands how the Internet works is available might work.

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Comments

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  1. George4478 says:

    >>The flaw with flagging these messages as “spam” is that Gmail’s spam reporting goes for everyone, not just you: other people could be getting their legit account alerts sent to spam

    Don’t care. I’m sure someone also wants emailed info on penis enlargement, viagra, or reducing their credit card rate, but I didn’t. I mark those as spam also.

    I am not going to review an email and think “this is spam to me, but it might not be for someone else, so I better not mark it as spam”.

    • HalOfBorg says:

      I’m guessing if enough people are receiving the email correctly, then it gets removed from the spam filter. Use a email rule and send it to electronic hell yourself.

      • notovny says:

        Aye. Not to mention, it takes awhile before GMail will start autofiltering similar messages to spam, and you wind up risking sending legitimate messages to you (such as bank statements for your bank) into spam.

        Creating a filter would take maybe a minute on the outside, and you can set one to delete messages for the entire domain, so that changes in format from the unwanted sender don’t escape the spam filtering.

        • George4478 says:

          The point of my comment was not ‘how do i get rid of this one little piece of spam”.

          It was: I don’t care if this email is valid for someone else.

          That some dude in Oshkosk, WI can’t get it up doesn’t matter to me. He never entered into my thoughts when looking at another ‘CHE@P VI@GRA’ email. It is spam to me and is treated as such.

      • George4478 says:

        I like opening my mail client, selecting the 30 spam emails, and hitting “These are Spam”.

        Much faster than setting up a bundle of email rules.

        ‘If the subject has V*I*A*G*R*A or VIA*GRA or VI*AG*RA or VIAGRA or VI@GR@ or…”

        • Anne Noise says:

          The point is to be using both in tandem, for Spam to mark the cloud-sourced spam we all mark, and for your filters to catch the shit that gets through. It would take significantly less time to set up a few filters than to deal with every spam you get…

    • raydeebug says:

      There is a pretty large distinction between reporting actual spam as spam, and reporting legitimate, but misdirected, emails as spam.

      Some of the mailing lists to which I subscribe keep getting trash-binned by Gmail’s spam filter, which irks me. I don’t consider some of those mailing lists spam. I signed up to receive them, and I assume many others did so as well, and decided to mark them as spam instead of unsubscribing.

      It’s not that hard to tell the difference between real spam and mailing lists.

  2. Gorbachev says:

    Auto-EECB the emails with a filter rule. It’ll stop.

    • RulesLawyer says:

      Came here to say this. The e-mail format for the bank appears to be Firstname.Lastname@53.com. A quick Google search will find you some good names. Even if auto-forwarding doesn’t work (according to a commenter below, it may not), you can still forward them manually.

      Also, try “abuse@” and the domain. Often, mail server administrators monitor the “abuse” address for reports. I signed up for a handful of online casinos several years ago, using identifiable throwaway e-mail addresses tied to a domain I own (e.g., LuckyLarryCasino@MyOwnDomain.com). When I started getting spam to that e-mail address, I set up a rule to auto-forward it to abuse@LuckyLarryCasino.com. When I got around to turning off that rule a few years later, I was please to discover that no more spam came in to that address.

  3. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Does Fifth Third Bank have an email address in their contact information? If so, just set up an auto forward rule that forwards the errant email to them, and then permanently deletes it from your inbox. They’ll fix it soon enough.

    • notovny says:

      When forwarding items by a filter through GMail, GMail sends a confirmation message to the recipient email, and someone with access to the recipient email address has to authorize the forwarding.

  4. Mr_Magoo says:

    There should be an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. I thought the was a law requiring that, even for emails from companies that believe you have a relationship with them.

    • selianth says:

      “Just enter your account number and password to access your email settings.”

      The law you’re referring to only applies to “commercial advertisements or promotion of a commercial product or service.” CAN-SPAM exempts “transactional or relationship messages,” which a daily account alert would certainly be.

      • phsiii says:

        I believe CAN-SPAM applies to messages from companies WITH WHOM YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP. Otherwise Joe Viagera <==intentional misspelling! can send you a "Daily update" and say "Oh, no, that's just a daily update, with an ad in it."

        Of course, it wouldn't be the first time a law was made with a loophole you could drive a truck through…!

  5. do not do it says:

    I have an e-mail address I don’t use (ISP-provided) and someone else started using it, then a second someone else. These people using the address signed up for a lot of stuff. I just filter it all to the trash and never look at it. It isn’t spam, and shouldn’t be reported as such. It’s sort of no-man’s land, a situation that no one has ever thought to handle. The ISP igored me, the people using the address ignored me, and the places they signed up ignored me. So I just filter everything to the trash.

  6. Lyn Torden says:

    A lawsuit would get this stopped very fast.

  7. Elena says:

    I get regular emails from an apartment complex in Arizona letting me know that my service request has been completed. Too bad I’ve never lived in Arizona. I’ve replied, I’ve Facebooked them, and still I get these emails. They don’t come super often but for some reason they irritate me to no end.

  8. longfeltwant says:

    “The flaw with flagging these messages as “spam” is that Gmail’s spam reporting goes for everyone, not just you: other people could be getting their legit account alerts sent to spam.”

    I disagree with this. These messages are exactly spam: “unsolicited commercial emails”. The company sending the spam is responsible for fixing the problem, not the recipient and not Google. If the company is spamming this good gentleman, then they deserve to have the rest of their emails filtered as spam. Maybe the bank will start to listen when other customers complain about not receiving their notifications.

  9. MrPersonMan says:

    If OP figures this out, I would love it. I’ve been getting stuff from BoA and haven’t been able to talk to anyone since I wasn’t a customer. I was getting all kinds of overdraft notices for a while. Looks like the guy has gotten things straightened out since then but it’s still annoying.

    I’ve notice a huge uptick in emails to someone else to my email address. The best one:

    Someone invited me to a guys weekend, I politely told them I wasn’t the person they were looking for. The response, “Nice try nut sniffer, I know its you.” After another email and I’m guessing the guy had a phone conversation with this friend, I got an “I’m sorry” back.

  10. PBallRaven says:

    So, they’re just supposed to take your word for it? Isn’t this a way that a ID thief could social engineer the bank system? “Hi! please stop sending emails to this email address. Yes, that’s the one. Thanks!” (Great, now I can drain their account and they won’t get any emails about it! haha!)

    Yeah, right.

    • sqlrob says:

      I would guess that they have the snail mail address or phone of the real owner, just ask there if they’ve gotten e-mail.

  11. Misha says:

    “why is it Edit’s responsibility to keep someone else’s banking info out of his inbox?”

    That right there is a thing of cosmic beauty.

  12. snarfies says:

    I’ve wound up signed up for emailings for which I did not subscribe or otherwise ask for, and could not be removed from. In those cases, I simply set up some filtering to:

    1) automatically reply to each and every received message (the nature of the reply I will leave to your imagination, but it is to every relevant address I could find), and

    2) automatically delete the received message.

    Mind you, I run my own mail server. I assume gmail can do something similar though?

  13. alastria says:

    It could very well be a Gmail issue. Gmail accounts don’t find any difference between accounts if they happen have periods anywhere in the email name. They did originally – I was on Gmail in the Beta days, so my email address was something like GSmith@gmail.com and someone else’s was G.Smith@gmail.com. But now, I get emails to this other G.Smith person, and they probably occasionally get ones that should go to mine, because Gmail doesn’t see any difference between the two anymore and haven’t for a long time. I’ve gotten things like flight itineraries, emails from people updating this G.Smith person on details in their lives, etc. and I have no way of contacting this other person to let them know “Hey, I got your stuff!” because if I send to the G.Smith address, it just comes back to me. It’s to the point I just use the account for various newsletters I subscribe to.

    • notovny says:

      Gmail didn’t let someone else sign up with G.Smith@gmail.com. You’ve always owned both email addresses. Gmail’s worked that way since the beginning.

      The problem is that the vast majority of businesses don’t do any sort of email confirmation when you sign up for an account, if the business gets money directly from the account-holder. They typically take the “Why would someone give us an email address that they don’t own?” view of it.

      (Businesses that get money by marketing to you, or businesses that provide free services do typically check.)

      And yes, people can, and do give out email addresses that they don’t own for years upon end. I also signed up for GMail back in ’04, and for more than six years, I’ve gotten order forms, account notifications, financial documents, resumes, and various utility bills intended for someone in India. Used to attempt to notify the people who sent personal messages to the address, but now I just black hole it all.

      • RedOryx says:

        “Gmail didn’t let someone else sign up with G.Smith@gmail.com. You’ve always owned both email addresses. Gmail’s worked that way since the beginning.”

        Yeah, I figured that out accidentally. My email is FirstNameLastName, but I accidentally signed up for something and used FirstNameDotLastName. My email was my log-in and it wasn’t until I went to log in with my correct (non dot) email and couldn’t get in that I figured it out.

  14. scoutermac says:

    I used Fifth Third Bank for over 10 years. I finally had enough of their incompetence and lack of customer service and switched to a local credit union. I especially got tired of walking into a Fifth Third Bank to withdraw say $25 cash out of my account and being told by the tellers and manager that I needed to go to the ATM. Hm.. lets see the ATM only gives out $20 bills and i want $25. See a problem here?

  15. kathygnome says:

    Gmail really needs to fix their period problem and banks and other businesses need to adopt systems that verify emails.

    • ovalseven says:

      Yes. It surprises me that a bank wouldn’t first send a confirmation email to be sure the address is actually the account holder’s.

      • selianth says:

        Yes, exactly. Although I’ve also run into the situation where I got about 17 emails in a row from some website because the user kept clicking the “resend confirmation email” over and over. Gee, you think the fact that you’re not getting the email might clue you to check the address you entered?

      • Ace says:

        I know my credit union made me confirm my email address and set up several personally identifiable details (school I attended, previous addresses, middle name of grandmother, etc.) to verify that it was me should something change with my account. Any time I make changes to my account or internet settings, I get sent directly to one or more question page to verify that it was me making the change. The exception to that is if it is done from my normal IP address.

        As far as email alerts, there is never any information other than my name and a link to log into my account. Above the link in big bold letters it reads “Beware of Phishing Emails. Always verify the URL of the website you are visiting before entering credentials.” It then goes on to explain how to look at the address bar for all the dummies that don’t know what a URL is.

        They make it incredibly difficult to get anything wrong and do a great job of protecting me.

    • Bryan Price says:

      What is their period problem? Essentially, Gmail ignores them. I can use mynamegoeshere@gmail.com, my.name.goes.here@gmail.com, or even m.y.n.a.m.e.g.o.e.s.h.e.r.e.com. It all goes to the same inbox. To _login_, you have to know what periods you have used. But not for receiving email. And I’m fine with that. I’d rather get something to first.last@gmail.com when I’m firstlast@gmail.com, or vice versa.

      Verifying emails is the thing, my credit union certainly did, but others, certainly not.

  16. yankinwaoz says:

    I would first suspect that is not really the bank but a phishing email taking you to a fake version of the bank’s website. I get these all the time from banks I have no relationship with. Sometimes for fun I follow the link and sure enough, a fake site that is a complete replica of the real one.

    These are designed to capture your logon credentials. Then within seconds, they use that information to log on to the real bank and loot your accounts.

  17. Bryan Price says:

    I have the same problem with Juniper Bank. Somebody has signed up with my Gmail email. I’ve called, the only way I have available to contact them. Juniper doesn’t give a shit, has no way of blocking the email.

    I have marked it spam, and I really don’t give a damn about the other Juniper customers. Maybe they need to change to a real financial institution.

    The banks really need to get their head out of their place that doesn’t receive sunshine.

  18. dush says:

    Just auto forward to a dummy email account that then autoforwards to all Fifth third employee and executive email accounts you can find.

  19. Bog says:

    There are also other ways of dealing with that – Most mail programs have a other rule filters too – that can set on a single sender. – Set the rule to send it back to several addresses at that bank. So – every time they sent it to you – 10 bounces back to their execs.

  20. Dr. Shrinker says:

    Is there any chance this is a gmail thing? I can’t help but notice all of the examples we’ve given have been gmail addresses, and of my many email addresses, that’s the only one that this happens to on a regular basis, as well.

  21. DrBrian says:

    Submit a complaint to the BBB. Fifth Third has a policy that all BBB complaints be dealt with within 5 calendar days of receiving them from the BBB.

    Aside from that, contact the office of the President.

  22. km9v says:

    Who the heck names a bank 5/3? That’s a pretty dumb name.

  23. Alphasite says:

    I have this problem with my gmail account. For some reason people either give it by mistake or miss a character writing it down.

    One of the places was at a bank in Australia (I’m in the US). I couldn’t get them to stop by going through the proper channels so I resorted to complaining on their Facebook page, making sure I mentioned that the bank was sending personal details to the wrong person even after being notified they were sending to the wrong email address.

  24. bishkumak says:

    I have a gmail account with the same issue, but the bank in question is NatWest. It’s a UK bank, but I’m in the U.S. and have never been abroad. I am not named “Mr. Wilkinson”, either, but they don’t seem to worry about that. I looked for an e-mail address to to inform them of the issue, but all I can see on the e-mail is a little section basically saying “if you’re not the account holder, delete this e-mail”. It has been on my spam list for about a month now.

  25. http://www.53.com says:

    Thanks for bringing this situation to our attention, Laura. We have looked into resolving this issue for Ed on our end, and have reached out via Twitter. In order to remove his email address from our database, we need the email address in question to ensure we are removing the correct address. Since privacy and security are concerns for us, we have requested that Ed send the email address to me directly at Shannon.paul@53.com, or by calling 877-833-9797 – this is a direct line where he will be able to talk to one of our social media team customer service representatives.