What is a burner email?
There are many definitions and stigmas online so we want to get this straightened out once and for all.
A burner email/disposable email address is an email alias that forwards all emails to your personal inbox, does not have an expiration date and works just like a real email address. It just cannot be tracked back to you by the sender and it works! Burner emails help protect your identity and security online.
How do you use it?
Burner emails should be used as a unique, anonymous email address for every service you sign up for. That way if anyone compromises the burner you can easily cancel or "dispose" it without losing the email from other services.
How does it protect me?
One benefit can be found in scenarios where someone may sell or release your email address to spam lists or to other unscrupulous services. When that happens you can easily cancel your burner email and the spam and scam that comes through it.
Another benefit is the scenario where your email and password get revealed in a data breach. When that happens you become a target for scammers and hackers that will try to hijack your personal email account. From there they can abuse your Paypal account, bank account, Amazon, etc. With a burner email the hacker cannot reach your personal email account because he doesn't know your email address, just the burner one.
Burner emails makes it so much easier to recognise phishing and fraud emails. For example, the Burner Emails extension generates the burner addresses in the format firstname.lastname@example.org. If you receive a scam email that pretends to be from Paypal, Amazon or Netflix it is so much more easier to spot that it's not a legit email because you know that the only service that has that burner email is the service that is in the actual burner email address.
How to use burner emails this Holiday season
The Holiday season is full of discounts, sales and shopping online. You should use a burner email especially:
- When registering or subscribing to a coupon code service
- When a service asks for your email in exchange for a deal
- When you subscribe to an online shop to be notified about early discounts
- When shopping online
- When a cashier asks for your email to give you a discount
- When a hotel asks for your email
It's great when services want to offer you a special discount in exchange for your email. However, that usually ends up with the service spamming you with unwanted ads, unsubscribe buttons that do not work and possibly even your data being sold.
It may seem like a hassle to protect your privacy online, however, in a time where email spam, scams and identity theft are an everyday issue, burner emails can provide you with an extra layer of protection and privacy.