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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Save Your Overloaded Inbox With Burner Email

Inundated with email you don’t want or need? Save yourself with burner email.     

Spam. It arrives in your inbox in a constant stream. Every once in a while you take time to send it to your spam folder, but wait a week and more useless emails appear. Dealing with it is a waste of time and energy, but what can you do? Enter burner email.

“Burner” is tech talk for a device or software that isn’t meant to be around forever and isn’t connected to your true identity. Yes, criminals may make use of burner phones in particular, but you, Joe or Jane Good Citizen, can employ burner email in a perfectly legitimate fashion to protect your privacy and make life simpler. 

Apple Walking Steadiness and Legacy

While you’re at it, Apple users should check out a couple of features that have recently been made available. Activate Walking Steadiness in the health app (the white one with a heart that you’ve probably been using to keep track of your activity) and it will continually assess your walking patterns and alert you if you are unsteady and at risk of falling. 

Legacy lets you set up trusted contact access to your iPhone upon your death. This can be a lifesaver for someone who is trying to notify friends of a memorial service, settle bank statements, file your final tax return, etc. It can be a spouse or a trusted attorney or financial advisor. The Legacy contact can only access specific types of data, and only after you have passed away.

Why You Need It

Have you ever been on a site that insists on getting your email before you can use their service? Or maybe you don’t trust that the people on the other end won’t sell your email to all and sundry. Maybe you suspect their security isn’t all that great, or that your data could be uploaded to a social media site where you’ll be tracked and targeted. Or maybe you’re just sick of going through 50 emails a day to get to the ones you actually want. You need burner email.

Five Ways to Use Burner Email
  1. Protect your privacy. You may have a personal and perhaps a work email. Two accounts, but hundreds of online accounts know who you are through them. Your email address identifies who you are and makes you a target.
  2. Add security. Because many online accounts, such as banking and shopping (think Amazon), are linked to one email, having one get hacked means you’re at risk on all of them. It’s called scraping and it doesn’t need to happen to you. 
  3. Try out content. Some accounts won’t let you get to the service without registering your email. You can’t use a coupon or read a white paper without giving away your identity. Want to avoid follow-up sales promotions? Use a burner email.
  4. Checking out other opinions. It’s a crazy world out there, full of many opposing viewpoints. If you want to explore opinions that aren’t your own but aren’t comfortable leaving your email address, a burner is for you. 
  5. Spam. You unsubscribed from three lists, but 10 more pop up. You don’t even know where they’re coming from anymore, but they’re driving you crazy. Burner email to the rescue.

When You Shouldn’t Use Burner Email

While burner accounts have loads of uses, there are times you still need to use an email linked to your personal information. If it’s important and/or confidential, use your main email. This includes communicating with your child’s school, your bank, job applications and much more. 

How to Get Burner Email

There are plenty of burner email services out there to choose from. Some are free, and others charge a monthly service fee. If that’s what you choose to use, do your homework first and research the company’s reputation among leading tech blogs and journals. But there are a couple of services that are free or super cheap and come with sterling reputations.

Firefox Relay comes from nonprofit Mozilla, the company that offers the trusted Firefox web browser. Firefox Relay lets you create email addresses that will forward to your main inbox. If the site starts inundating you with unwanted mail, it’s easy to close the burner email and your problem will go away.

Apple is known for keeping its customers’ information private. The release of iOS 15 heralded a service called “Hide My Mail.” It’s available to anyone using the iOS update as long as you also pay for iCloud storage, which starts at $0.99 per month for 50GB. Access it through the Settings app, enter your Apple ID, tap iCloud, then Hide My Mail, then Create New Address. You can create as many burner emails as you need, and they’ll forward messages to your regular email account, or any account you prefer.