Our emails contain a ton of personal information and can potentially reveal a lot about us! From love letters, job applications, account confirmation, medical bills, and whatnot, email inboxes are just brimming with hot tea waiting to be spilled. Fortunately, there are several methods for sending anonymous emails, such as VPNs, anonymous email providers, and a lot more. But for starters, best shed light on the amount of information you give up when sending an email.
Why Has It Become Essential to Send Anonymous Emails?
Anonymity over emails remains to be a long-standing problem. Despite all the modern means of communication, emails are not going extinct anytime soon. The reason is probably their significant role in connecting the world.
By default, emails are an identifiable two-way method of communication. Therefore, there are several ways anyone can use your email to identify you. An obvious thing is the email address that is the key to communicating with you. Apart from that, there is the email header which is although hidden by default. But anyone can tinker with it to reveal the sender’s IP address and routing information.
Apart from that, let’s not forget how our online presence is strictly under surveillance. Even our trusted email providers are the ones collecting our personal information only to sell it to third parties. Not only has Google been under the hot water for collecting user information, but other email providers such as Yahoo are known to scan users’ emails to collect data.
But your need for having an anonymous email provider doesn’t stop here. There are several other reasons where using an anonymous email provider does come in handy such as:
- Prevents online tracking: your email address contains your routing information that anyone can use to track you.
- Ensures anonymity: anonymous emails encrypt email content preventing anyone from spying and ensuring anonymity,
- Protects from cyber attacks: in case of a data breach, like the one faced by HIV Scotland, encrypted anonymous emails protect data from harm.
- Allows sharing sensitive information: anyone, including journalists and whistleblowers, can use anonymous emails to share sensitive data.
Gaining anonymity over the internet has therefore become nothing less than essential. With the cyber world crawling with spies and various entities trying to sniff out our information, staying anonymous is crucial.
6 Best Ways to Send Anonymous Emails
You can opt for several methods for sending anonymous emails and can maintain your digital identity. Below are some of the best ways you can consider using to send anonymous emails to your friends, colleagues, or anyone. So, let’s get started:
1. Use Best Encrypted Email Providers
When sending anonymous emails, the first option is to opt for an encrypted email provider merely. These email providers use end-to-end encryption and offer privacy and security features that ensure enhanced security while sending emails. Some of the best-encrypted email providers are as follows:
ProtonMail is among the most secure anonymous email providers that use PGP encryption to safeguard your online communication. The service offers both free and premium versions. But, from a privacy perspective, using a premium plan is a better option to consider. It doesn’t limit access to the features and gives excellent services to the users.
The encrypted service provider has a strict no-log policy meaning it doesn’t store any activity logs or email copies. However, it only asks the users to provide their contact number, but it is only for account confirmation. Also, the recent revelation about ProtonMail makes it quite unreliable to use. But, you can always use a VPN along with ProtonMail to boost your online privacy and security.
Another best-encrypted email provider is StartMail that also uses PGP encryption and allows the users to send anonymous emails. StartMail is secure and private to use because it has its headquarters in the Netherlands. It is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, so your privacy remains intact.
Moreover, it follows a strict no-log policy, which means that the email provider doesn’t record or share your IP address, browsing activities, and other PII information. Also, it is an ad-free service so, besides ensuring anonymity, it prevents online tracking. Therefore, you can consider using it but remember, it doesn’t offer the mobile app version, which is a slight drawback.
– Guerrilla Mail
Guerrilla Mail is yet another impressive email service provider offering its service for more than 15 years. It allows users to create disposable email addresses and send emails without being traced.
You don’t need to sign up for a new account to use this service provider. It deletes all the incoming and outgoing emails within an hour and ensures that no one can track your emails.
2. Hide Your IP Address
Your IP address is your online identity which makes it a crucial bit of information. Suppose you are careful enough to encrypt your email contents securely sufficient that only the receiver with the decryption key can read them. But if you fail to hide your IP address with that, you are leaving yourself vulnerable.
There are three reliable methods of hiding your IP address:
- VPN: it encrypts and reroutes your traffic through remote servers to ensure online anonymity
- Tor: it encloses your traffic into layers of encryption and bounces it through several nodes while changing IP addresses to ensure anonymity.
- Proxy: it merely masks your IP address, so it appears different from your original.
Amidst these three, VPNs have emerged as a popular choice for hiding your IP address and ensuring online anonymity. Unlike Tor and proxies, VPNs ensure security by encrypting your data entirely rather than opting for layered encryption such as that of Tor. And a VPN does all that without slow speeds and lags.
However, be careful in opting for a VPN. You can only hope for a speedy and secure connection if you opt for a legitimate VPN provider following a strict no-logs policy. If you opt for a free VPN, then your online security will remain non-existent.
3. Use a Burner Email Account.
Burner email accounts are what you can consider a temporary email account that expires after a fixed time of use or allows users to send emails without registration. These email accounts eliminate the possibility of a digital trace, ensuring an anonymous e-exchange of information.
While these burner email accounts allow an anonymous exchange of information and help get rid of spam emails, managing such accounts is hard. Most email accounts would require signing up to and visiting suspicious websites. In case of lost passwords, recovery would be downright impossible since they do not have a verification method. Apart from that, most burner emails only allow the “send-only” option, such as AnonymousMail, making communication tricky.
4. Send Emails Without Registration
Now, email service providers allow users to use their service without going through the registration process. What usually happens is when you register for an email account, it asks for your sensitive information like date of birth, location, contact info, and more.
If by any means a privacy abuser gets hands on this information, they can track you and intercept your online communication. Hence, by using email providers that don’t require any registration or collect PII, you can send anonymous emails without getting worried about being tracked.
5. Wipe of Metadata
Metadata is a crucial part of documents, and its importance is often overlooked when it comes to maintaining privacy and security. It contains a lot of personally identifiable information, such as your name or information on your device. At times it might even have phone numbers and other vital information, depending on the document you are sending.
Therefore, while sending an email attachment, it is crucial that you wipe off the EXIF data of the file. Otherwise, sending an email with such critical information can compromise your anonymity. Sure, you might be careful enough to encrypt our data, but wiping off the metadata is a bit of extra protection that can help you stay secure.
6. Encrypt Your Email
Encryption is the best-known method of ensuring data security and privacy. If you need to stick with using mainstream email providers like Gmail or Yahoo, you should try to attain security by encrypting your emails.
Email encryption relies on two main protocols that are S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) and PGP/MIME (Pretty Good Privacy/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions). You can use these encryption protocols to encrypt emails in the following ways:
– Encrypting Gmail
Gmail comes with built-in S/MIME, and you can enable this encryption by hosting S/MIME. The process involves: composing a message in regular format> clicking on the lock icon at the right side of recipient > click on view details to change the S/MIME setting or the level of encryption.
With Gmail, the encryption levels are denoted with green, gray, and red colors. The green indicates S/MIME encryption, and gray indicates TLS encryption, and red means no encryption.
– Outlook email encryption
Outlook users must manually enable S/MIME encryption by getting a certificate or digital ID from the organization’s administrator and installing S/MIME control through Office. Users can now either encrypt all messages using the gear menu and click on S/MIME settings. They can also encrypt individual messages by clicking on: more (three dots) > message options > select or deselect “encrypt this message (S/MIME).
– Email encryption with iOS
iOS devices also offer built-in S/MIME encryption by default, and you can avail this by: go to “advanced settings”> switch on S/MIME> change “encrypt by default” to yes > while composing the message, click on the lock next to the recipient to encrypt.
Email encryption with Yahoo and Android requires downloading third parties to set up when it comes to email encryption.
How Do Anonymous Email Providers Maintain Your Online Security?
The process is simple. The anonymous emails use PGP encryption for encrypting, decrypting, and authenticating your online communication. Because of end-to-end encryption, your IP address, email content, subject line, and metadata become encrypted both ways, and only you and the recipient can view or read them. In this way, no snooping eyes, including third-party trackers, government agencies, and hackers, can read or intercept your emails.
However, while choosing an anonymous email provider, you need to be careful and select a service that doesn’t log or collect information. Apart from that, it is best that you choose a service that adheres to a strict no-logs policy and doesn’t have a strict jurisdiction. The anonymous email providers mentioned within this article are secure ones that ensure online privacy and security with e-communication.
How Can my Email be Traced?
Tracing an email is not rocket science, and the process is quite simple. The full email headers contain vital information that anyone can use to track the source of emails, such as routing information and email metadata.
While using a mainstream email provider such as Gmail or outlook, anyone can trace your IP address using the full email header. The header is divided into various components that contain different information, such as the email address, the line of servers that your email has traveled before landing into the inbox, and a lot more.
The very first “received” component that contains the list of servers just after the DKIM-Signature, has the IP address of the sender’s server. It often appears as X-Originating-IP or Original-IP. Anyone can copy this IP address and use various tools such as the MX Toolbox to display your information. However, you can prevent anyone from tracking you in this method by using a VPN that masks your IP address by using a fake IP address.
Can You Use a VPN to Send Anonymous Emails?
Since a VPN can hide your IP address and ensures data encryption, it can help you send anonymous emails. By encrypting the data traffic, a VPN ensures that no one can intercept your online communication. Moreover, it also enhances online anonymity by assigning you a temporary IP address that changes your location. This way, even if someone uses some tracking service to trace your emails and know your location, they can never know where you belong. Make sure that when you choose a VPN for sending anonymous emails, it should protect against IP leaks and follow a strict no-log policy. Because if not, then anyone can invade your privacy, and there would be no use in using a VPN.
Is It Possible to Hide IP Addresses While Sending Anonymous Emails?
To send anonymous emails, you need to hide your IP address. If anyone knows your IP address, they can easily track you and read your emails. To hide your IP address while sending anonymous emails, you can consider using a proxy server, Tor browser, encrypted email providers, or a VPN. All these tools are effective in hiding your IP address. But since Tor browser and proxy come with some security issues, it is easy for privacy invaders to track your IP address. Using an encrypted email provider or a reliable VPN provider ensures that your IP address remains under the covers and no prying eyes get a chance to track you via it.
How to Send Emails Without Getting Tracked?
There are various ways to send emails without getting tracked. The best possible method that you can opt for is using a combination of VPN and an anonymous email provider. However, while choosing, make sure you have chosen a legitimate VPN that offers a strict no-log policy and ensures robust data encryption. Similar is the case with anonymous email providers; make sure the service you choose is logless and encrypts your emails.
Is Gmail Anonymous?
Gmail or any Google service is anything but anonymous. Although Gmail encrypts your emails with 12-bit encryption, it doesn’t hide your IP address to prevent tracebacks. Moreover, signing up for Gmail requires revealing tons of personal information that Google collects to target you with ads or share with third parties risking your online privacy. However, the biggest security concern with Gmail is that it allows certain third-party app developers to access your emails which is nothing less than a pure violation of your privacy.
To keep yourself protected from snooping eyes, you should send emails anonymously. There are various advantages to sending emails without revealing your true identity. There are multiple circumstances where sending anonymous emails is mandatory. So, if you want to enjoy the perks that anonymous emails offer, select any of the methods mentioned above for sending emails privately and boosting your online communication experience.