- 3 reasons you may want to use an untraceable email
- How do anonymous email accounts work?
- How can I send an anonymous email without being traced?
- Can you trace the IP address of an email?
- Is Gmail secure?
- More private email tips
What if you need to send an email with sensitive information without revealing your identity? And what if you need an untraceable email to receive sensitive information? Secure email services were designed to provide identifiable two-way communication, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to send and receive anonymous emails. Read on to find out more.
3 reasons you may want to use an untraceable email
Should you be using an untraceable email? To decide, work out what your privacy comfort level is. What information are you willing to give away? You may wish to combine a secure email with a VPN, but it all depends on why you want to send this email. Here are three reasons you may want to send untraceable emails.
You are a whistleblower
An anonymous email, like an anonymous phone call, can be vital for combating crime, corruption, abuse, fraud, sexual harassment or other violations of the law. However, even though people who engage in anonymous whistleblowing usually fight for justice they put themselves at risk by doing so. The accused party can get them fired, blacklist them, bully them or even take legal action against them. Therefore, anonymity equals protection.
You are a journalist
Journalists can often be monitored and targeted by powerful institutions, corporations or governments that don’t want their secrets to be revealed. Anonymous emails give journalists the cover they need to communicate with their sources and communicate their findings while reducing the risk of reprisals.
You want to avoid spam and tracking
Companies and spammers harvest publicly available email addresses from websites, discussion boards, and mailing lists. They then use them for bulk email marketing campaigns. To avoid your spam folder being cramped with junk messages, you may want to use a disposable, anonymous email address.
By logging in to other platforms with your personal email, you give tech giants a lot of valuable data about yourself. Companies like Google or Facebook gather this information and then share it with third parties or use that data themselves to serve you targeted ads. No company should know this much about you.
Check out our brief video on anonymous emailing below.
How do anonymous email accounts work?
There are many apps and websites that describe themselves as anonymous email services. How do these work?
In most cases, they send your email via encrypted tunnels, to keep the data safe while in transit. They also limit the amount of identifiable data attached to the email; for example, they might hide your IP address.
Different email providers offer different services, but as we’ll see later on, even using an anonymous email account doesn’t always guarantee your privacy.
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How can I send an anonymous email without being traced?
Fortunately, sending an anonymous email isn’t a complicated task. Here are three different techniques you can use to send off your intended message.
#1: Create a new email account
Want to send an anonymous email? The easiest method to send emails anonymously is to create a new email account using any popular email service like a Yahoo or Gmail account. When creating a new profile, don’t use any information that could lead back to you; otherwise, it won’t be an anonymous email account. Instead, choose a fake name, D.O.B and home address. Some email service providers might ask you to provide a real phone number to send you a verification code. Think twice before you give it away as it may lead back to you.
However, with these steps, it still won’t be a completely anonymous email account. Even without personal information, these services will still track your IP address and will collect data on your actions. Such information can reveal your identity and location. Even the most secure email provider will usually be obligated to provide this information to law enforcement agencies. Therefore, in addition to your new account, you should also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that can change and mask your actual IP address
#2: Use a “burner” email
Burner email accounts allow you to send and receive anonymous emails without revealing your identity. They usually expire and destroy themselves after a certain period of time, or they allow you to send a message without creating an account that could link to you. A burner email address might be one of the simplest ways to keep your sender information more private.
If you only need a temporary “send only” account to send anonymous emails, we recommend trying AnonymouseMail. However, as this anonymous email service is free, we also recommend using a virtual private network (VPN) to hide your original location and identity before sending any messages.
If you need a temporary “receive only” inbox because you want to avoid being swamped with spam, you can use anonymous email services like Mailinator or TrashMail. Instead of giving your real email address, you can provide one of Mailinator’s public addresses or a disposable Trashmail account, which will delete itself after a period of time.
#3: Use an encrypted email
Another kind of anonymous email service can be found in encrypted email services. They offer you the functionality of common email services while encrypting your emails, inbox, and even contact lists. This means that no one snooping on the traffic can read the content of your emails. In most cases, this also means that the anonymous email service providers cannot snoop on you, either. Such anonymous email accounts are a great choice for secure and ongoing communication.
Different anonymous email account providers also offer different features, like anonymous payments or self-destructing emails. Check out our list of the best free anonymous email accounts, where we compare multiple free service providers.
#4: Use a VPN
Whichever method you use to send an anonymous email, always use a VPN. Here’s why:
- A VPN hides your IP address: Your message might not have your name attached to it, but it could reveal your IP address. Your IP address can be used to uncover your location, hack your device, and track your activity. A VPN protects your privacy by hiding your IP and routing your traffic through an encrypted VPN server.
- A VPN hides your online activity: Your ISP can track what you do online and could hand over your information to authorities. NordVPN encrypts all of your data and app traffic, making it indecipherable to snooping ISPs and malicious actors.
Always use a trusted VPN with a strict zero-logs policy. Your privacy depends on it. Some free VPNs log your activity, sell it, or share it with third parties; an anonymous email isn’t worth that risk. NordVPN doesn’t store customer’s connection logs. Your data is neither tracked nor recorded under any circumstances. Even if you’re using an anonymous email service, we recommend enhancing your overall privacy and security with a VPN.
Can you trace the IP address of an email?
You can trace the IP address of an email by looking at its header and checking the metadata; having an exposed IP makes it much harder to send an anonymous email. However, you’ll have to put some effort into analyzing the header as it contains a lot of technical details that can be hard to grasp at first glance. Here’s how you can trace the IP of an email:
- Open the email header.
- Copy all of its content.
- Paste it into the header analyzing tool, which will provide you with the sender’s IP address.
Take into account that many email providers hide IP addresses and you will only be able to find the IP of the last server that processed the email. However, only knowing the last server could also help you understand if a spamming email is legitimate or not. For example, if you received an email from Facebook, and it originated from Belarus or Chad, that’s a red flag.
Is Gmail secure?
You might be less concerned about privacy, and more about security. If so, you’re probably wondering if one of the biggest mainstream email providers, Gmail, is secure.
The short answer is yes, Gmail is relatively secure. Your emails are encrypted with TLS, Transport Layer Security when in transit, and your inbox is protected with industry-standard 128-bit encryption. It’s not exceptional, but there are no major risks that are unique to Gmail.
However, Gmail’s record on privacy is much less stellar. Remember, Gmail is a Google product, and Google is notorious for gathering data about its users.
More private email tips
Are you a 100% anonymous email sender now? Not so fast. Here are a few more things you should consider before you send any sensitive information:
- When setting up new accounts, never use the same password on any other accounts. Use a random password generator if needed.
- Keep your anonymous account’s login details and passwords safe. You can use a password manager to do so. However, it’s better not to save this data on the same account that your personal passwords are on – just in case.
- Don’t include any personally identifiable information when creating your account or sending an anonymous email, even if it’s the name of your dog or your favorite sport.
- Don’t use your anonymous email account to log in to other services that you use in your personal life, like Facebook, Twitter or Spotify.
- It’s better to send anonymous emails on a public network rather than from your home or work Wi-Fi. Otherwise, it won’t be an anonymous email and it might lead back to you.To send an anonymous email while staying safe and private online, use a VPN.
- Before logging into your account, check that your VPN is working and not leaking your IP. Familiarize yourself with other ways to ensure your anonymity.