The email is one of the most popular ways to communicate online, especially for businesses, where 65% of them prefer email over online communication (16%), phone (9%), or face-to-face (5%), according to Project.co’s Communication Statistics 2020. However, regular email can be used to identify you online easily. If you want to keep your online identity intact, start thinking about setting up a free anonymous email account.
What Info Can Someone Get From Your Email?
Email was designed to facilitate easy and identifiable 2-way online communication. It was not designed for privacy.
Let’s, for instance, look at the most popular email service provider – Gmail. Today, there are over 1.5 billion active Gmail users in the world. With approximately, 2.9 billion emails sent worldwide in 2019 (expected to grow to around 320 billion in 2021), that’s indeed a lot of emails and, more importantly, a lot of data.
This is not the data that you should be taking for granted, or giving up freely. And yet, if you are using Gmail, you are doing exactly that.
It is, in fact, very easy to trace someone’s location from their email. Someone who knows where they should be looking (hint: look at “Show Original”) would be able to see your IP and thus your location.
So if you were pondering is Gmail anonymous, it absolutely isn’t. And if an average person can get this data in just a few minutes, imagine what a more tech-savvy hacker or a government agency with all their resources and manpower could see.
And, to make things even worse, there are email tracking tools like this one that reveals when and where your email was read.
If Gmail is Not Anonymous, Then How Can I Send Anonymous Email?
Let’s first make one thing clear about Gmail. Yes, you can use a fake name to open an account, but that’s not nearly enough to be anonymous.
Gmail will still know your IP address and location. An extra problem with Gmail is that, even if you use a fake name or pseudonym, it won’t do you much as you still need to verify your phone and this can be used to trace you.
So, if we remove Gmail as a viable option for an anonymous email, what alternatives to send secure email are there?
The good news is that there are several and we’ll show you the best ones here and what you should do to get untraceable email.
- Use a VPN or Tor.
First things first, you need to hide your IP address. Even with the most secure encrypted email service, there’s still a risk that they’ll store your IP address somewhere in their logs and even if they are not doing that, just the fact that you’re visiting their website might trigger an alarm.
That’s why you need to start hiding your IP right away using a VPN or a Tor browser.
A Virtual Private Network will tunnel your Internet traffic through a different server which will then show its IP address instead of yours. Keep in mind, however, that some VPNs will store your real IP, so you need to be careful to avoid those.
Tor, or The onion router, on the other hand, bounces your traffic through so-called ‘nodes”. Each node is a layer of security of its own, run by volunteers, and it’s impossible to figure out the original source based on the nodes.
- Use a burner email
A burner email is a good option if you know you won’t need it for more than one or two emails and you need to send an anonymous email. For instance, if you need a temp “send only” email account, you can use AnonymouseMail.
On the other hand, if you need to receive emails, but don’t want to reveal your identity (let’s say you’re worried about spam), you can use a service like TrashMail. This will give you a public, disposable email address, which will self-destroy after a certain period (one month with a free account).
The downside of temporary or burner email services is that they’re exactly that, “temporary”. If you only need to use them to send an email or two, they’re fine, however, if you want an email that will protect your online privacy long-term, then the next option is what you should be looking at for a free anonymous email account.
- Use end-to-end encrypted email
Ever since Edward Snowden revealed NSAs spying back in 2014, we’ve had a surge of end-to-end encrypted service providers like CTemplar: Armored Email.
What makes these different from regular email providers like Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook is that they provide a much better encryption and thus security for your emails. Whereas Gmail, for instance, only uses TLS for encrypting your emails (which only works when emails are in transition, but not at rest, an E2EE service also encrypted at rest using OpenPGP or similar.
This means that your email data is protected from prying eyes, including the attachments you send, the email body and even the email subject. None of this is truly protected in any meaningful way with a service like Gmail.
There is a caveat, however, when using encrypted email. Be sure to check where their servers are located. If they are in the United States or a country that shares data with the US, stay clear of that provider. They will be legally obligated to reveal your data if the government requests it.
Instead, go with a provider that keeps its servers in a country with strong data protection laws, like Iceland and make sure they are using zero-knowledge password protection and are stripping your IP address from their logs.
And that’s all you need to send anonymous email to someone. Now you can fully enjoy your online privacy and be more secure on the Internet.