This article provides an overview of disposable email addresses, also known as dark mail, throwaway, and temporary email accounts. In this article, I’ll explain what they are and how you can use them to avoid spam, simplify your life or conceal your identity.
What is a Disposable Email Address?
E-mail and social networking communications are core activities on the internet. Unfortunately, email is easy for spammers to abuse. There are several ways to prevent this problem when you sign up for things using your email address online. But only one works if you need to provide a real, working address (to be able to receive a confirmation e-mail, for example), the creation of the disposable e-mail address.
Most internet service providers and web hosting companies allow you to have several e-mail accounts. The ISP provides the mechanism online for you to create and delete them. If your email provider (Hotmail, Google, Yahoo, etc.) provides the ability to create additional email accounts, it may be a good idea to set up an extra account that you have no intention of using for personal communications.
Even if you don’t use an ISP that allows additional accounts, you can still sign up with an e-mail hosting provider. Independent email hosting providers allow you to create multiple accounts or even create free accounts on Yahoo!, Hotmail or any of the other free services. Although some services won’t accept these kinds of e-mail addresses for verification purposes).
List of the Best Disposable Email Address Services
There are a number of different providers that can serve this purpose, but a few are designed specifically to help you avoid spam and conceal your true identity. Following are a few suggestions that are easy to set up and use:
- Jetable.org – With Jetable, you can create an account with a specific lifespan, ranging from one hour to one month. The account that is created forwards all of the emails to one of your other accounts. This way, you can still review, read and delete the message. Why do this? Because you don’t have to give out your real email address. And, after the specified period, the account is deleted automatically. I’ve done this to get a discount code. However, it is important to note that Jetable is not an anonymous email service. They don’t modify email headers and they keep all logs.
- Mailinator – Mailinator has millions of accounts that are in the public domain, meaning anyone can access and see the emails. You can give out an email address to anything you can think up, with the @mailinator.com domain. The service then deletes the emails after a few hours. Use it to avoid spam,
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For example: Let’s say that you want to sign up for a free offer on some website; but you would prefer to avoid getting a bunch of spam for privacy reasons. So, you hesitate to use your primary personal email address. In this situation, you could use your secondary disposable email address.
The confirmation request and any subsequent spam would be sent to your disposable e-mail address. The only time you would need to visit the disposable email account mailbox would be to click on confirmation links or confirm information. This way, you don’t have to worry about all of the other spam that may come in the future.
Don’t give out your disposable email address to anyone from whom you’d actually like to receive e-mail. Also, don’t let your garbage address be associated with your real name or address (that way, an old friend searching for you won’t try to use it to get back in touch, for example). This way, you can be certain that any emails received by this address are useless spam that may be safely deleted.
If you participate in discussion forums, you may notice an increase in the amount of spam and fraudulent email that you receive. Spammers often gather email addresses from discussion forums using scanning and indexing bots.
Whatever you do, don’t respond to a spam message that provides a link where you can “opt-out” of future mailings. All this does is tell a spammer that they have a real, live working address that is in use. Respond, and you will likely begin to receive even more spammy and fraudulent messages. Eventually, your Inbox will fill up with spam offers for medicine, people trying to steal your money, or get you to download malicious code.
A disposable email address can be a valuable tool to protect the usefulness of your primary email address. For related information, see:
Questions and Comments
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