What should you do if you receive an email that was meant for someone else? And what if that email contains personal or inflammatory information? How should you respond?

Sue Shellenbarger of The Wall Street Journal recommends that you DON’T do the following:

  • Reply to the email with an angry or sarcastic message
  • Gossip about what you learned from the email
  • Complain to your boss

So what should you do? Well, if you know who the email was supposed to be sent to, you could forward it to that person with the message, “I think this email was meant for you.” If you don’t know who the email was supposed to be sent to, respond to the sender by saying, “I think you sent me this email by mistake. I’ve deleted it.” Keep it simple and polite. The sender will appreciate your kindness and discretion!


Shellenbarger, S. (2016, August 16). What to do when you get an email that isn’t intended for you. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/what-to-do-when-you-get-an-email-that-isnt-intended-for-you-1471382905