Sending an anonymous email might not be as simple as you think. Several tutorials suggest using a new free email address, but that idea comes with some risk. A determined tracker can learn your identity simply from the data trail of the email service.
Whether you’re a whistleblower or someone wishing privacy in affairs of the heart, remember that anonymous emails also need to be secure. There are three mains ways you can send emails anonymously.
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1. Sign Up for a Burner Email Address
A burner email is a temporary, disposable email address you can use for one-time communication. Most burner email services respect your privacy and won’t link their service to your real identity.
Burners are an all-in-one service. Basic burner email services allow one-shot email creating and sending. More advanced services work like traditional email services but will enable you to change your email address constantly.
Pros and Cons of Burner Email Address Services
Most people won’t have problems using burner email services. You don't need any technical skills or knowledge to use them; just sign up and follow the instructions provided by the website. You’ll also find many cheap or free options available.
However, the level of anonymity on these services can sometimes be questionable. For example, choose the wrong service provider, and you may find it sells your data instead of keeping you anonymous.
Examples of Burner Email Address Services
Temp Mail is a more straightforward service that allows you to generate burner emails with several domain extensions. It even provides a dedicated app available on Android and iOS. It’s free to use, but advanced features like selectable domains require a subscription.
It’s an ideal solution for those looking to keep their email out of the hands of advertisers, spammers, hackers, and other third parties who would use it for nefarious purposes. After all, they offer the service with privacy in mind.
Burner Mail is similar to Temp Mail but offers more features. You can send anonymous emails to multiple recipients, respond from burner email addresses, and get more control over your emails in general. It comes with a handy browser extension and is a great web browsing companion.
Burner Mail offers a free option and a paid option. The free option allows you to create an unlimited number of disposable addresses, but it does not allow you to send any emails from those addresses. You must upgrade to the paid version if you want to send emails.
Guerrilla Mail eliminates the need for apps and extensions by providing a simple web-based user interface. You can compose and send your anonymous emails directly with a choice of domain extensions. Disposable email addresses last for 24hrs before they’re gone forever.
Many people like using Guerrilla Mail because it is simple and easy to use without requiring much technical knowledge on behalf of the user. The interface is also very intuitive, so even those who have never used an online inbox before should be able to figure out how things work without any trouble.
2. Use a VPN and New Email Address
Using a new email address to send anonymous emails isn’t entirely without merit. However, you need to do it the right way. Emails often include information that allows recipients to track them – ultimately leading back to your IP address.
Don’t worry, though. You can quickly fix this problem using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). These services help mask your original IP address by routing your Internet connection through a secure VPN server.
With that, you can sign up for a new free email account and use it to send your email anonymously. Remember not to provide your real user details when signing up for the email account!
Pros and Cons of Using a VPN to Hide Your Identity
VPNs are highly versatile services that help increase your digital privacy. Because of that, I highly suggest using one even if you don’t intend to send anonymous emails. They encrypt your data, mask your device location, and can even help you access geo-blocked websites.
Many free VPN service providers exist, but you should consider a paid one. They’re more reliable and won’t sell your data.
Examples of VPN Services
My favorite VPN is Surfshark, as I find it’s the perfect combination of privacy, speed, and price. For a mere $2.49/mo, you can access high-speed, secure Surfshark servers worldwide. It works for almost all purposes, from increasing digital privacy to bypassing geo-blocked services.
Surfshark provides its users with access to over 3,000 servers in over 65 countries around the world. You can connect to any server through a simple, user-friendly interface available on PC, Macs, and most other major platforms.
NordVPN is one of the industry stalwarts as far as VPN services are concerned. They boast a massive network of over 5,000 servers. Best of all, NordVPN comes with 256-bit encryption to ensure your data is as safe as it can be.
NordVPN offers an easy-to-use interface with a wide range of features. It also keeps no logs of your activity, so you can browse the web without worrying about privacy breaches or government surveillance.
CyberGhost is a highly reputable VPN service that’s been around for ages. It offers a combination of security, good speeds, and excellent prices. You can also opt for bundled packages that include a security suite, password manager, and private browser.
CyberGhost VPN works on all major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It also supports routers with OpenVPN and PPTP protocols, which means you can use it to secure your entire home network by installing it on your router.
3. Remove File Metadata
If you want to remain anonymous, remember to look at the files you’re sending, not just the email contents. All files contain metadata that can help users identify who created or edited them. To stay anonymous, you must remove the meta intonation before sending the files.
Removing this information is simple if you’re using Windows;
- Right-click the file and select “Properties.”
- Select the “Details” tab.
- Click on “Remove Properties and Personal Information.”
- Select “remove the following properties from this file” on the pop-up window.
- Tick all the files you want to delete, then click “OK.”
On macOS, things are a little different, and you need to remove the “Where From” file attribute. To do this, open a Terminal window and type;
xattr -d com.apple.metadata:kMDItemWhereFroms fullfilepath
Once you’ve completed these steps, the file is “sanitized” and ready to be sent anywhere you want.
Reasons to Send Email Anonymously
Sending anonymous emails is not a crime. The only way it becomes a crime is if you break laws during the process. For example, using a VPN can be illegal in some countries. If you’re not breaking the law, there are many reasons why you may still want to keep your identity private.
The best reason to send email anonymously is to protect yourself from spam. Many web services today require you to use an email address to sign up. Once you do that, they will constantly bombard you with spam. Instead of spending ages unsubscribing, simply sign up with a burner email address.
Sharing Sensitive Information
Anonymity is sometimes necessary when communicating with people outside your organization who may be hesitant about sharing sensitive information with someone their email address could identify. Examples include whistleblowers or political journalists.
Protecting Your Identity
Sending anonymous emails protects your identity and privacy. When using a free webmail account like Gmail or Yahoo!, your IP address is always logged in the message's header. This simple feature means anyone can quickly discover who sent them an email.
Embarrassing Email Content
You may be sending something that might be embarrassing if found by others at work or school. It could be an email to your boss asking for advice on how they can improve their management style. It could be an angry rant about some aspect of your job. Or it could be something else you wouldn't want anyone else to know about — like an affair with someone else at work!
In an age where people lose their jobs for making insensitive comments on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, it's essential to remember that what you say or do in cyberspace can easily get tracked.
The easiest way to protect yourself is to use an anonymous email service. There are so many services available that you’ll have a broad range of choices. The only problem is that I often worry about the security and privacy of the services themselves.
For this reason, it’s always a good idea to safeguard your data with a VPN – even if you aren’t trying to send anonymous emails. Since there’s usually no bandwidth quota, my VPN is generally always enabled.