How to Send an Anonymous Email without Being Traced
There are various situations where we need to remain anonymous in various situations, and email is perfect for this. Therefore, mailboxes contain confidential information, from personal letters to financial transaction details.
The only catch is that, by their very nature, email exchanges are a two-way street. Email carries a lot more personal information than just the sender’s address. For instance, you might be able to deduce the email’s destination by inspecting its whole header for indicators of how to get there. Possible identification and subsequent difficulties could result from this alone.
The current post discusses the ways to make your emails anonymous. However, we will start by exploring why sometimes you need to ensure the anonymity of your correspondence.
Why you might wish to use an anonymous email
You can use anonymous email for many different purposes that are perfectly acceptable. In addition, knowing the motivation behind the requirement for anonymity will help you decide the appropriate level of protection for your information. For instance, which details are you prepared to reveal? Depending on your needs, you may require to pair a VPN with a secure email to send sensitive information, or you might want to use an anonymous email service. Here are some common reasons for making your email anonymous.
- Fight against crime, abuse, corruption, sexual harassment, fraud, and other infractions of the law can all benefit greatly from anonymous tips. An anonymous email can serve the same purpose as an anonymous phone call. Anonymous whistleblowers fight for justice but often endanger themselves in the process. The accuser may resort to shaming, blacklisting, bullying, or even legal action to punish the victim. Consequently, anonymity means safety for whistleblowers.
- Email addresses posted freely online on message boards, mailing lists, and the like are a prime target for spammers and marketing firms. They put them to work in massive email marketing drives. Therefore, people want to use temporary, anonymous email addresses to avoid being spammed or tracked for advertising purposes.
- Sensitive professions like Journalism also require anonymous correspondence. For instance, Journalists are sometimes watched and harassed by governments, corporations, and other organizations that don’t want their secrets exposed. Journalists can feel safer sharing information with the right sources and reporting on their findings when they can send and receive anonymous emails.
So, once you know why you need to keep your emails private, let’s look at how to send an email anonymously and how the related services operate. The understanding will help you decide which method is most suitable for your purpose of anonymity.
How do Anonymous Email Services Operate?
Many applications and websites market themselves as secure email systems that conceal the sender’s identity. How do they function, exactly?
Typically, they will send your email through secure, encrypted channels to prevent any unwanted interception. They may also mask your IP address or other personal information to reduce further the likelihood of someone linking your email to you.
However, while It’s true that different email providers give varying degrees of security and anonymity, this is only sometimes the case. So, we will explore some more options in the next section.
5 Ways to Send Anonymous Email
Using a secure email service provider and masking your IP address is how you can send and receive emails in private. However, most email providers like Yahoo and Google, though helpful in many ways, lack privacy features that some users may find important. So, below are some additional safeguards you may take to protect the anonymity of your email.
Use Burner Email
It is possible to send and receive emails through a burner account without revealing your true name. They either self-destruct after a certain amount of time has passed or enable you to send emails anonymously without creating an account that someone could use to track you down. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to conceal your true identity online is to use a “burner” email address.
Burner emails when signing up for unfamiliar or dubious websites might help limit the quantity of junk mail you receive. However, it can be challenging to reset such anonymous email accounts if you need to remember the password. Thus, if you know you won’t need an email address in the foreseeable future, a “burner” account is your best bet.
Astrill VPN is a must for any method you use to safeguard your email’s privacy. Your IP address can be traced to you even if you don’t sign your messages. Therefore it’s essential to know how to use a VPN to protect your anonymity online. Knowing your IP address allows others to easily identify you, gain access to your device, and monitor your online habits. You can stay anonymous online when using a VPN because it encrypts all your data as it travels to and from your device.
Moreover, Make sure you’re using a VPN you can trust, like Astrill, which has a zero-logging policy. Your confidentiality demands it. It’s not worth the hassle of using a free VPN just to send an anonymous email because some of them record your activities and sell or share that data with advertisers or other third parties.
Create a New Email account
If you want to send emails without being traced, one of the simplest ways is to sign up for a fresh account with a reputed email provider. Create a new profile without including any identifying information, or the account won’t be anonymous. Make up a name, date of birth, and address instead. In order to get a verification code by phone, certain email providers require a valid phone number. As it could be traced back to you, think critically before you give it away.
Despite taking these precautions, your email account will still not be totally anonymous. Services like this will keep tabs on your IP address and record information about your activity even if you don’t voluntarily provide personal details. One’s name and whereabouts might be easily ascertained with such details. In most cases, even the most reliable email service must comply with legal requests for such details. Therefore, you should utilize a Virtual Private Network with your new account to disguise and conceal your IP address.
Word documents may give you away through their metadata. It can reveal your whole name or some other sensitive information. Taking a screenshot of the file will allow you to eliminate EXIF data that may be there.
Additionally, Windows includes a tool called Document Inspector for removing metadata. You’ll be able to evaluate the data you have and remove anything sensitive before sending it out.
Use an Encrypted Email Service
Encrypted email services are another option for maintaining your anonymity online. They encrypt your inbox, messages, and contacts while providing all the features of standard email clients. Your email content will be unreadable to anyone monitoring the network traffic. To a large extent, this also implies that your anonymous email provider cannot monitor your communications. An anonymous email account is very helpful in sending an anonymous email with attachments and receiving messages confidently and safely.
3 most anonymous email providers
Providers of anonymous email services vary in what extras they make available, such as the ability to make anonymous payments or send messages that delete themselves after being read. Examine our comparison of the top free email providers to see which ones stand out best for privacy.
Platforms: Web only
Free version: Yes
Since its launch in 2006, Guerilla Mail has served as a go-to service for those seeking an anonymous email provider. The temporary email address it gives for anonymous sending and receiving sets it apart from other secure email services. If you’re in a rush, you can have Guerilla Mail generate the address for you, but you may also do it yourself. Even more convenient is the fact that you don’t even need an account to send and receive messages.
If you need to sign up for a service but don’t want to use your real email address, Guerilla Mail can help. If you want to be hassled with spam or need to know whether or not you can trust the sender, this is the email service to utilize.
The best part about Guerilla is that it’s free. You only have to visit their website to get started. Over 13 billion emails have been handled by Guerilla so far, and that figure is only expected to climb.
Platforms: iOS & Android
Free version: Available for 500 MB
When you send an email with ProtonMail, it is encrypted using PGP before it leaves your device. It promises a no-logs policy, so the provider will have nothing to offer the authorities even if they show up asking for information.
The metadata, headers, and subject lines of an email are not encrypted after they have been sent. You can send more texts per day, depending on your plan, which starts at just $3.33 per month. The one catch is that you’ll have to give them your phone number to verify your account.
Also available in ProtonMail is the option to delete the emails after they are read automatically. Simply choose an end date and time, and ProtonMail will automatically remove the emails from the recipient’s inbox when the time has come.
This email provider offers extras like a VPN, mobile apps, and a secure calendar at no extra cost.
Platforms: Web only
Free version: No
StartMail is almost similar to Gmail, only more secure. The company behind StartMail also operates one of the only privately focused search engines, Startpage. StartMail is among the most secure email providers available. It allows you to create disposable email addresses, which can be used as additional security for your inbox. If one of them ends up in a spam mailing list, it’s easy enough to delete it and start over.
StartMail, like many other services with a focus on privacy, encrypts messages locally before sending them over HTTPS. There is PGP support as well, albeit your contact would need to use a compatible configuration. In every other case, the plan fails.
Now, if someone asks you if you can send an email anonymously, then by going through this guide, you should be able to answer them positively. Standard email providers typically give adequate service, but they may compromise your privacy. Ads are how these sites make money, so understanding your browsing patterns is essential.
In addition, anyone who looks at the Original-IP lines or X-Originating-IP in your email metadata will learn your private IP address. If you do this, hackers (or the recipient) will be able to learn your location, state, ZIP code, ISP, and possibly more. So, the above guide is essential to avoid any risk regarding your online privacy and keep your correspondence secure as it should be.
Author: Arsalan Rathore
Arsalan Rathore is a tech geek who loves to pen down his thoughts and views on cybersecurity, technology innovation, entertainment, and social issues. He likes sharing his thoughts about the emerging tech trends in the market and also loves discussing online privacy issues.