Please think before using .edu email addresses!!

Not sure where this belongs, so I’ll stick it here.

A friend of mine is totally freaked because she got a phone call from some dude she chatted with on the net. They exchanged email addys, and after a few weird emails, she tells him to flip off. A day or so later, he calls her. She only gave out her email address so she had no idea how he got her number.

I asked if she gave him her school email address, and she said yes.

I’m thinking that’s how he got her number.


Hello? Most college addys are a combination of the first name and the last name and the school name is the domain. So basically, you are telling people that my name is "X " and you can find me attending classes at “X” Throw in a online campus directory and someone could easily find out the complete name . Do a search on the school webpage, and there might be a page where a picture shows you PUTTING UP A BANNER OVER THE FRONT DOOR OF THE DORM WHERE YOU LIVE!! (as there was in her case!) This assaholic probably called the front desk and was transferred to her room.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming her. She did report it to the campus police, but the guy really didn’t do anything illegal. He only called once, but the front desk has instructions to transfer him to the campus police if he calls again.

It just bites ass to see a friend too frightened to return home. She’s staying with us for the weekend because she’s still upset about it. Just felt like venting a little. Thanks.

Was her username really that obvious? When I was in school, the first part of my email address was just “stdmed17” – impossible to discern my name from that.

But, yes, if you know a person’s name and school, it is very easy to track them down. I was able to find my old high school boyfriend just with his name and a good GUESS at what college he went to.

I’m guessing it was. My college e-mail address was, IIRC, my first initial and last name. A college most of my friends went to had last name, first initial.

And so on for a bunch of different edu addresses for schools ranging from East Coast to HI. Combined with schools with “search by username” (read: the first part of the e-mail address) online student directories, and it really is child’s play.

Yes, our email addresses are VERY obvious. And, I have many friends from other schools with similar ones. At my school,

Robert Smith

would probably result in something like

Complicating matters for her, is that she has a relatively short and unique last name. Her email adress contains her complete last name and her first initial. That jerk didn’t even have to bust a sweat.

That had never occurred to me - a good cautionary lesson indeed. I was a bit luckier; when I was at university email wasn’t so widespread, and my address was suitably anonymous (“” or something similar).

Anonymous, that is, unless your real name is 936 1122!

Yeah, but now we know you went to Edinburgh Uni and matriculated in 1993. Which is just the kind of thing most people would try and keep in the closet!

And it’s off to MPSIMS we go.

My school does do a theme on the last name and first name combined, but they take only the first five letters of the last name, then stick on the first inital. Them if any are the same, they get a number. And I think our campus directory search doesn’t work unless you have the full last name, but I could be wrong.

Nah, I’m an out-of-the-closet matriculator.

At my current institution, my email address starts with “cpilman”, which is pretty easy to figure out even if the department webpage didn’t have a list of students’ full names and their email addresses. :stuck_out_tongue: But at my undergrand institution it was worse; there my email address started with “christopher.pilman”. I would definitely take your advice to heart, if I were at all concerned about being phoned. But, since my phone number is on my webpage, I won’t be shocked out of my mind if someone figures it out. :wink:

My school lets us choose. Most people pick one based on their first and last name, but mine has no relation to my last name at all.

This is an issue at my school. Our emails are the first 7 letters of your last name (whole thing if it’s shorter, which mine is) plus first initial, and middle initial if you’ve got sames. @

But our online directory is an even bigger problem than most… Its nickname is “StalkerNet” for a reason. Do a search on even a partial first or last name, and you get not only that the person goes there - you get e-mail address, so you could verify that it’s the person you’re stalking. You also get their phone extension, so you can call them directly and not have to worry about any sort of front desk hassles. You also get the building that they live in, room number and mailbox number, if they’re on campus, so you could theoretically go right to their dorm room and do god knows what!

You can pretty easily exclude yourself from the StalkerNet system, but a lot of people just don’t bother. I haven’t, because I never ever use my university email (anything that gets sent there automatically gets forwarded to my hotmail account anyways), and because if a professor or another student needs to find me, it IS pretty convenient. Plus, c’mon, who the hell’s gonna wanna stalk ME. I’m more likely to be stalkER than stalkEE. But thinking about it now… it is kinda scary.

Man, not that I don’t agree with the point of the OP, but…

I would love having a school email address that was “first initial, last name”! My university decided that we need to use the format of: “first initial, last initial, goddamn 9 digit student number”.

So if you were Bob Smith with a student ID of 000012345 (oh, and they just changed over to 9 digit numbers, before we had 5 digit student numbers, so they look rediculous), your email address would be:

Since this is such an easy to remember format (how many people know other students’ ID numbers?!), it works so that no one uses their campus email here. Even professors have their syllabi with an email ending in “”, “”, etc.

Ugh. Our school email works on a system of our last names and a series of numbers:

On the school’s website, there’s a search function to find people. If you have the last name and numbers, punch them into the search box, it brings up exactly the person you might’ve been looking for - along with their address, phone number, school of study, and any on campus jobs they might have.

I’m not too concerned with anyone finding me. . . for starters, I doubt anybody would be looking. For another thing, my last name is fairly common, so quite a number of names would have to be waded through to find me. I use my school email address exclusively for school stuff: emailing TAs, professors, etc. Not a huge worry on my part, but I think listing all of a student’s private information is a little silly.

You’re wrong :slight_smile:

Even if your email isn’t based on your name, it’s often quite simple to look up the actual student associated with the account.

We looked into various options at the college where I work a few years ago. There isn’t a real satisfactory answer. Colleges use a variety of systems for creating accounts, and since they have to mass produce them, they lean toward accounts that can be created using an algorithm from the student records.

We chose firstname.lastname However, it isn’t easy to just guess the address even knowing that, since the actual form is If you don’t know the server name, everything is bounced.

Further, our student directory is only available from on campus, which makes it harder to get your phone and campus address. Finally, in New York, students can ask not to be listed in any directory, so anyone concerned with the issue can opt out.

My school addresses had you using your initials and birthdate (example: I guess if you had a lot of time on your hands you could figure out the phone number by the email, but it would be more trouble than it was worth.

That’s how it was when I was at Smith. The only information that could be accessed from off campus was the person’s email address, but that address was first initial-last name. Since Smith is a small school, I didn’t give my campus email address to anyone but friends and family, since it would be fairly easy to find me with my last name even without the directory information.