An unknown man keeps sending photos of himself to an equally unknown recipient, using a non-existent email address from one of the domain names registered to me. I’m talking hundreds of photos at a time, and none of them are particularly interesting or unusual. The peculiar things about it are the sheer amount of photos and the fake email address the sender has chosen to use in order to send his photos.
One of the domains registered to me is used purely as a ‘catch all’ and has no email accounts set up on it. When someone sends an email to an email address on that domain (which obviously doesn’t exist), it just comes directly to me. This is handy for using unique email addresses (which I can make up on the fly) when getting insurance quotes for example, because if I start receiving spam to the random email address used, I can just block that particular email.
A few months ago, I received an email from We Transfer, telling me that my photos had been uploaded and that a download link had been sent to an email recipient. I received this email to firstname.lastname@example.org, meaning that the sender of these photos had entered that as his email address.
I was initially sceptical about clicking on the included link, but then I thought “fuck it” and did it anyway. The download link included over 100 photos of the same guy just standing in front of a building, but in slightly different poses.
After this, I received the same thing 3 or 4 more times, but the strange guy was at different locations in each upload.
I thought I’d downloaded each batch of photos as a zip file with the intention of posting each and every one online, but I can’t find what I did with the files. Fear not though, because on the 28th December last year, I received yet another batch of photos and although I lost that zip file too, I did have the foresight to save one of those photos on my phone.
When you take a photo with a digital camera, a whole host of metadata is recorded with the photo as EXIF tags. This generally tells you the camera make/model, date/time the photo was taken, lens or ISO information and much more. In more modern digital cameras and mobile phone cameras, the GPS location where the photo was taken is also stored.
From the sole photo that I saved to my phone, I know that the mystery guy took the most recent photo with an iPhone X at (or near) 2 Surrey Avenue, Toronto. Then, using Google Streetview and looking at landmarks in the background of the photo, I found that the mystery guy had the photo taken in the Silly Goose Pub.
I created the email@example.com email address and sent a message to the email recipient telling him that we need to talk urgently as the feds were watching me, but for some reason I didn’t receive a reply. I’ve now stopped receiving random photos from the mystery guy but rest assured, if I do receive any more they’ll be posted here.