From all the forms of communication available nowadays, the email is by far the most reliable and accessible method for exchanging messages, and it’s easy to understand why – you can learn both the basics as well as some advanced features simply by taking an email management online course; but what if you need to send an anonymous email? The ability to send anonymous emails is not something you usually find in the offer of common email providers such as Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft, but lucky for you, there are some simple workarounds to get the job done.
Anonymous Email DOs and DON’Ts
Before rushing into anonymous messaging, it is important to understand when and, most importantly, when NOT to send an anonymous email. While anonymous emailing is a good pick for protecting your identity, it is a technique you should never use in a marketing campaign, and the logic behind this is quite simple: the amount of effectiveness an email marketing campaign has is directly influenced by the level of trust the receiver has in the company that’s sending the emails, and an email arriving from an obscured email address doesn’t inspire very much trust. You can learn more on how to kick start your email marketing by taking this online course. The CAN-SPAM Act also requires that commercial emails include contact information, so sending anonymous commercial emails could get you in trouble with your email service provider.
The ability to send anonymous emails can be of use when you want to talk to someone without them knowing it is you. You can achieve this either by creating a fake identity, or by going completely anonymous. Depending on the result you want, there are several ways you can hide your real identity and send anonymous emails.
Fake Identity Method
Assuming a fake identity is the most commonly used method of going anonymous on someone. The procedure is simple: you just sign up for a new account with your email provider of choice using a fake name and details. You will end up with a brand-new email account that can’t be traced back to you, unless you make a mistake such as forgetting it open on your work computer.
The advantage of this method is that sending and receiving emails is not different from the normal emailing procedure you generally use, and the new identity can be used for an unlimited period.
Anonymous Emailing Systems
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up another identity, you can use an anonymous emailing system. There are two types of such systems:
- One way systems – they only allow emails to be received;
- Two-way systems – they allow both receiving and sending of emails.
A one-way system can be useful when you come across a site that requires you to give your email address before being able to access a portion of the site. If you don’t want to give your real address, setting up a temporary email address to use just for that site is the perfect solution. 10minutemail.com is a good example of such site, providing you with an email address that’s only valid for 10 minutes – enough to check out the confirmation email those sites send.
If you also want to be able to send emails, a two-way system is what you’re looking for. Anonymousemail.us lets you send emails with completely customized sender info, meaning that the email address that will appear in the “sender” field of the email can be absolutely anything you like. This is awesome if you want to prank someone into thinking that the email is coming from someone else. If you want to be able to hear back from the person you are emailing, anonymousemail.us allows you to enter your personal email address and encrypts it in the form of an email address consisting of random string of characters followed by @anonymousemail.us. This address then forwards the reply to your real email address. I think it goes beyond saying that using this service to scam people is illegal and will most likely get you in some serious trouble, so be sure to only use it for harmless purposes.
Guerrillamail.com is another service provider that allows you to send emails anonymously by setting up an alias that will be used to automatically create a temporary email account on their servers in the form of email@example.com. Besides the fixed sender address, guerillamail.com also inserts a notice into every email, letting the recipient know that the email was sent through this service.
Despite the good services these sites offer, keep in mind that there is one main factor that can totally blow your cover: your writing style. We all have a somewhat unique way of expressing our thoughts, or we tend to make some grammar mistakes over and over again – these are all factors that can betray your real identity, so consider taking this online course on grammar essentials to improve your writing style and make your anonymous emails untraceable.
Going Under the Radar
If you still feel that you might get caught, there is only one way of going completely under the radar – Tor. Tor is the ultimate tool in terms of privacy protection and anonymity, consisting of a very complex network of servers, secured browsers and highly encrypted services and, while it will provide you with an increased level of protection, setting it up and working with it can be a tedious process. The network also has a bad reputation due to the amount of illegal activities that happen around there, so use it only if you really need to.
Your anonymous email is only anonymous from the moment it leaves the email server, but it can be easily intercepted before it reaches that server, especially if you are sending it from a monitored network. Martyn Wright wrote a very interesting blog post on network traffic monitoring here, so make sure to check it out if you want to understand just how easily it is for a network administrator to intercept your email. In order to make sure your anonymous email remains anonymous all the way, as well as learn other valuable security tips and tricks, check out this online course on digital security.