How to stop spam with anonymous email forwarding

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Spam: Is there a more invasive nuisance to regularly plague your inbox? Spam comes in many forms (e.g., chain emails, advertisements, money scams, etc.) with the most common trait being that they are unsolicited. Named for a Monty Python sketch in which unwanted Spam, the canned food item, is served in every dish, email spam is anything but a comedy. If anything, it’s more akin to the Divine Comedy, and much like Dante’s descent into the nine circles of hell, sorting through your inbox can be a tiresome experience.

One way to avoid spam is by opening a different email address whenever you need to provide one for, say, buying something online. This ensures your “real” email address does not receive ads from the company or others who might obtain your details because of this purchase. You can get temporary email addresses, lasting as short as 10 minutes. (One popular service to try is 10 Minute Mail.) But signing up for separate email addresses for everything is a cumbersome process.

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Protect your email address with a forwarding service

This is where anonymous email and alias forwarding services like AnonAddy and SimpleLogin come in. Recently, Apple launched its own, called Hide My Email.

At the most basic level, these services allow you to create and manage numerous “alias” email addresses that forward to your inbox. These email alias services differ from temporary email addresses in that an email alias will last for however long you need it to.

AnonAddy

Free: 0 USD/year, unlimited standard aliases, 20 shared domain aliases , 2 recipients

Lite: 12 USD/year, unlimited standard aliases, 70 shared domain aliases, 1 custom domain, 5 recipients

Pro: 36-48 USD/year, unlimited standard aliases, unlimited shared domain aliases, 10 custom domains, 30 recipients, 3 additional usernames

Browser extensions: Chrome and Firefox

Smartphone apps: Android (Google Play and F-Droid) and iOS

Company: privacy policy, security outline, and roadmap

Founded by UK-based developer Will Browning, AnonAddy was developed to provide an affordable, open-source, ad-free, encrypted, and multi-alias email forwarding service to thwart spam. 

AnonAddy works in three steps:

  1. Sign-up and register a username

First step is to register a username. For example, we’ll use loremipsum. Once registered, we can then use test@loremipsum.anonaddy.com (or .me) as an email address. Note that in this example, test is used as a placeholder for any valid alias you choose. Another option is to use a randomly generated string of numbers and letters if you wish to remain anonymous. So for example, this could then be test@1x2v3.anonaddy.com. Shared domains, e.g. @anonaddy.me,  are also offered for use should you be concerned about your identity being linked to alias ownership. Custom domains can also be configured if desired.

  1. Create aliases

Next step is to begin creating aliases. This can either be done on the fly or pre-generated and are to be used when signing up to a newsletter or registering a new account on a website. So for example, if you wanted to subscribe to the awesome ExpressVPN blog newsletter (hint), you could do so with expressvpn@loremipsum.anonaddy.com (or .me). AnonAddy will then automatically create this alias which can be used to send and receive emails.

Under AnonAddy, standard aliases are those that are created on the fly. Shared domain aliases must be pre-generated.

  1. Manage aliases

Now here comes the fun part. Say one of the aliases you’ve created starts receiving spam. You now have the ability to deactivate said alias with the flick of a switch. AnonAddy will then discard any future emails that attempt to come through to that alias. If you decide to delete that alias altogether, AnonAddy will outright reject any future emails.

SimpleLogin

Free: 0 USD/year, 15 aliases, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited reply/send from alias, 1 mailbox

Premium: 30-36 USD/year, unlimited aliases, unlimited custom domains, 50 directories/usernames

Enterprise: Dedicated server & database, single sign-on

Browser extensions: Chrome and Firefox

Smartphone apps: Android (Google Play and F-Droid) and iOS

Company: privacy policy, security overview, and roadmap

Founded by French-based developers SimpleLogin SAS, SimpleLogin was developed to provide a simple experience for protecting email addresses. SimpleLogin is open source, encrypted, private, and affordable.

Additionally, SimpleLogin can also help parents keep their children safe online. You can use multiple inboxes—one for yourself and one for your child—so that you’ll also receive any message that is sent to an alias set up for your child.

As the name suggests, SimpleLogin works in two steps:

  1. Create aliases

Once you’ve signed up and are logged in to SimpleLogin, simply create or generate a new alias for each use case you have (e.g., alias@aleeas.com or test@aleeas.com). This can of course include things like newsletter sign up (perhaps to your favourite VPN provider?), website registration, banking, or work correspondence. You can now use aliases to replace emails everywhere!

  1. Receive emails

You can now receive and send emails from the aliases you’ve created. Also, using SimpleLogin aliases for your business is a great way to save on paying for extra email inboxes.

Apple’s Hide My Email

iCloud+ account required: 0.99 USD, 2.99 USD, or $9.99 USD per month

Available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Hide My Email is a service provided by Apple that allows you to create unique, random email addresses that keeps your actual email address hidden. The service is available on iOS 15 for the iPhone, iPad, macOS, and on iCloud.com.

Hide My Email works by generating unique, random alphanumeric email addresses from a user’s iCloud email. Generated emails addresses are described as “temporary” but you can technically keep them as long as you want. When you sign up for a service or buy something online, simply generate an email. Any emails (such as confirmation numbers) sent to this generated email get forwarded to your real email.

Read more: 8 ways your email stops spam

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