Benefits of Masking Email Address vs. Using Temporary Email IDs

Certain websites ask you for your email address for different activities. For entering a comment, for example, you have to provide your email ID. Likewise, when downloading some free e-book, they ask you for your email ID, so that they can send you the download link to this ID. This way, they can build up a data bank, so that contact you even after you got the book. If the site is good and the mail they send is useful, it is fine, but what if they started spamming you? One of the benefits of masking an email address is that you can avoid spam using the third-party browser extension.

How to Avoid Spam

Providing your email ID anywhere on the Internet invites spam. Though the companies or websites promise that they won’t sell your email address to anyone, they could share your email address with third parties. Some websites simply sell your email ID among other information to online marketing companies that too converts into more spam into your Inbox. For example, you register for a newsletter with a reputed website and start receiving promotional emails from unknown parties; you may wonder how the unknown party got your email ID!

Though there are many spam filters in place, they may or may not help you. Some of them come with an Unsubscribe option but, again, they may or may not help. A service like Unroll.me can then help.

The best way to avoid spam is to mask your email ID while providing it to websites. Even better is to use temporary emails. Temporary emails last for a definite period of time and expire afterward. They are perfect for things like receiving links for e-books, etc., and to avoid the spam that follows later.

Masking email address

Masking Email Address

You will need a third-party browser extension for masking your email address. One example of email masking is MaskMe and Blur from Abine. The extension comes both free and paid. In the free version, it masks only the email addresses. The paid version goes a step ahead to mask phone numbers and credit card numbers.

MaskMe is available for Firefox and Chrome. It is however no longer being updated. Its developers have developed a new addon called Blur, which does this and more. Blur too is available for Chrome as well for Firefox.

Using an extension, when you encounter a field asking for email ID, you will get the option to mask the email address. If you choose that, you get to enter an email mask (something like a fake ID) instead of real email ID. Mail sent to the masked email ID will be forwarded to your real email ID. You can decide which ones to keep and which ones to delete. That is, if you start receiving promotional email or something similar from a third party, you can set it to be deleted automatically.

Masking works best only in browsers, as email clients will download or sync all email. With email clients, you can set up filters and rules to check the incoming email and delete them if they are spam. There is the probability of losing important email if you are not very careful when creating rules in email clients.

A better option to avoid spam email is to use temporary emails whenever possible.

How temporary email ID’s help

As evident from the name, temporary disposable emails are valid only for a certain period of time – like, 10 minutes or half an hour. Such email IDs can be used when there is a need for corresponding only once. For example, if you need to give them an email ID to obtain a download link for something, you can quickly create a temporary email and use it instead of your real email ID. Once you receive the link and the email ID expires, any further emails sent to it will bounce. That way, you will be saved from spam.

This explains the benefits of masking an email address and using temporary email IDs. It depends on circumstances whether to use temporary emails or to go for masking. You can temporary email only for a limited correspondence. In case of masking, you will keep on receiving mail, but you will have options to directly delete the emails using third-party browser extensions.

If you have other light to throw on this subject, please do share.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

7 Comments

  1. Eternal Optimist

    Blur seems to be an excellent idea, but the price for Premium seems a little steep IMHO

  2. Ziggy

    10 Minute Mail is pretty good for temp email addresses and you can always click for another ten minutes if you need it. Bye the way, plaudits to The Windows Club for not spamming its readers. Keep up the great work, Anand!

  3. Thank you Ziggy. 🙂

  4. Guy Fredlund

    I used to have Blur but then I changed e-mail to Startmail, and they provide very useful options to create temporary and alternative mail addresses. Plus encrypted mail of course.

  5. Rockin' Rita

    I love Blur and MaskMe but I agree about the Premium price! Not everyone is rich and can afford to give Abine all their money. I’ve been searching for a good hour and there doesn’t seem to be any other option to create masked email addresses that forward to your email. WTF #firstworldproblems

  6. Jadon

    Go to maskedmail.com. It’s free, but only lasts 24 hours. Then you have to mask it again.

  7. al_razavi

    This site is now disabled.
    Reason: DDoS.

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