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? Emails 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 emails anonymously. Read on to find out more.
Dec 08, 2019 · 5 min read
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 whistleblowers 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.
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.
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.
The easiest method to send emails anonymously is to create a new email account using any popular email service like Gmail or Yahoo. When creating a new account, don’t use any information that could lead back to you. 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, 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. Most popular email providers are also 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 original IP address
Burner email accounts allow you to send and receive 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.
If you only need a temporary “send only” account, we recommend trying AnonymouseMail. However, as these services are free, we also recommend using a 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. This way, 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.
Encrypted email services 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 service providers cannot snoop on you, either. Such email accounts are a great choice for secure and ongoing communication.
Different 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.
Whichever method you use to send an anonymous email, always use a VPN. Here’s why:
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. NordVPN operates on a strict no-logs policy. Your data is neither tracked nor recorded under any circumstances.
You can trace the IP address of an email by looking at its header and checking the metadata. 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:
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.
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: