Gmail says the username is 'already in use' and 'not in use' at the same time

by K.Mulier   Last Updated October 14, 2018 18:03 PM

I'm helping my father today to update his Google account. Below is a step-by-step procedure of what we did, and where we got in trouble.


1.  The procedure step-by-step

First we logged in with his usual emailaddress We got into his Google account, and pressed on the icon representing the Gmail:

enter image description here

Google immediately showed us a message, encouraging us to add a Gmail to this Google-account. I've taken a screenshot, and added translations from Dutch to English in green ink:

enter image description here

As you can see, the username karelmulier is already in use! This is very worrying to us, because my father never created a gmail address. We fear that someone with bad intentions created this account on my fathers name.

I search for account recovery on Google, and got onto this link:

I get a form where I can fill in the 'lost' account that I want to recover. Here is a screenshot:

enter image description here

As you can see, Google claims that the account doesn't exist.


2.  Our confusion

When I attempt to add the Gmail address to my fathers existing account, Google refuses because it "is already in use". When I try to recover it (from some bad guy abusing my fathers name), Google tells me it doesn't exist.
How is this possible?

Answers 1

According to a number of links returned by "periods in gmail email address," Gmail ignores periods in an email address. The two email addresses listed in the question are considered identical, which explains the "already in use" explanation.

Dots don't matter in Gmail addresses: (from Gmail support page)

If someone accidentally adds dots to your address when emailing you, you'll still get that email. For example, if your email is, you own all dotted versions of your address:
October 14, 2018 16:27 PM

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