One of your most precious things is your email address. Criminals and fraudsters may use it to start phishing attacks on you and impersonate you to friends, family, and acquaintances in order to deceive them. It’s best to keep your email address hidden from anybody who doesn’t need to know it.
So, how can you protect your email address from fraudsters and spammers?
Who Needs to Know Your Email Address?
You use your email address to log into your bank account, and you provide it to websites that need it to open an account or complete verification. Email allows your friends and relatives to contact you, and it is closely tied to your Amazon and eBay transactions.
In actuality, none of these organizations or persons need your email address, therefore you must learn how to keep it private.
1. Use a Temporary Email Address for Signups
Long ago, it was simple to surf the internet while being anonymous. Readers could go from site to site, absorbing news and blogs while avoiding pop-ups, pop-unders, and malicious browser add-ons.
The situation is different now: advertising is ubiquitous rather than harmful, and it seems like practically every site demands you to create an account in order to read information. While the BBC news website will just pester readers to sign up for an account, the Independent, for example, will require it and will bar you from reading more than a few words until you do. This, of course, necessitates the provision of an email address.
By providing your email address to every site that requests it, you greatly increase the likelihood that your email address will be stolen, sold, or otherwise abused. And all you needed was a fast dose of celebrity rumors and TV spoilers!
A temporary mailbox is excellent in these situations. Simply contact a provider to get an email address, which you can then use to register with sites that need an email address. Email verification will be sent to the temporary email address and will be removed in a few hours.
The disadvantage is that the email inbox is often entirely open to the public, and you cannot send emails from a temporary email service. It’s a terrific option for simple one-time signups and enables you to keep your email private.
2. Plus Aliasing
One characteristic of emails that you may not be aware of is that if you insert a + sign after the initial portion of your email address, followed by a string of text, both the + sign and the string of text will be disregarded. The email will be distributed as if it never existed.
This implies that if your email address is “firstname.lastname@example.org,” an email sent to “email@example.com” will be sent to you.
You may send plus aliased emails to any location that needs your email address. And by including the name of the person or organization to whom you supplied your email address, you’ll know who to blame if it does leak.
Of course, aliasing masks your email address. Simply eliminating the + and the following text reveals the true email addresses.
3. Catch-All Forwarding
Custom email domains are amazing because they enable you to express yourself. They also let you establish and use as many email accounts as you need on the fly—as long as you just want to receive email and not send it.
First, choose and purchase a domain name. This does not have to be costly; domain names may be obtained for a few bucks.
To enable catch-all forwarding, go to your registrar’s settings, click Mail Settings, and then Email Forwarding. Next, go to the Redirect Email section, click Add Catch-All, and enter the email address you want all mail redirected to in the Forward-to box.
You may now give out whatever email address you like, as long as it is part of the same domain, and no one will be able to link it to your primary email account. For example, if you choose the domain name “ilovezebras.lol,” you could register on the BBC website with “firstname.lastname@example.org,” on CNN with “email@example.com,” and utilize your gas station reward card as “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
All of the email addresses are legitimate, and any emails received to them will be sent to your primary email address.
You will not be able to send emails from these addresses, unfortunately.
4. Create Functional New Email Addresses
If you appreciate the notion of having your own custom domain and establishing email addresses for every imaginable use case, but you also want to be able to send emails from those addresses, you’ll need to go elsewhere. Catch-all email accounts are free to create, and your registrar will not charge you to forward emails to you.
If you want fully functioning mailboxes for all of your fake people, you’ll need to either set up your own email server and add users, or join up to a service like Google Workspace or Zoho, which will maintain the server and make it simple to establish new user accounts.
5. AnonAddy Manages Your Email Aliases
Keeping track of aliases while retaining the anonymity of your primary email account is a balancing act, and AnonAddy takes the worry out of it. It enables you to establish email accounts while on the road and respond to emails using your normal email account.
With AnonAddy’s free tier, you create a username and are assigned the subdomain your username.anonaddy.com. You are free to create whatever alias you choose and use it anywhere you see fit. When AnonAddy gets an email with the subject “@your username.anonaddy.com,” it creates a new alias and forwards the email to your normal email account.
When you click reply, you will not be responding to the sender directly, but to AnonAddy through your email alias. AnonAddy will then relay your response to the original sender, giving the impression that the email originated directly from your alias!
You can view all of your email aliases on your AnonAddy dashboard, as well as data on how many aliases are in use, how many emails have been forwarded, and how many answers you have sent.
The free tier limits you to a subdomain of “anonaddy.com” or “anonaddy.me,” while higher levels enable you to use your own domain.
6. Host AnonAddy on Your Hardware Without Restrictions
AnonAddy is a fantastic service, however you may dislike the limits and be hesitant to pay for the whole product.
AnonAddy is free and open source software, which means that the source code is freely accessible for modification, usage, and redistribution.
All of this implies that AnonAddy may be installed on a VPS or on your own hardware at home. You’ll be able to use any domains you want and customize AnonAddy to your specifications. This is not a beginner’s project, and you will need some basic Linux knowledge to finish the deployment properly.
Create Aliases to Disguise or Hide Your Email Address
We’ve showed you six techniques to conceal or hide your email address in order to protect it from leaks, fraudsters, and spammers. Each of these strategies has benefits and downsides, as well as varied degrees of complexity. Make certain that you choose the appropriate solution for your requirements.
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