If you use Gmail or Google-based email (like Google Apps for Business or Education), you can adjust your email address to anything with a + sign.
- If your email is email@example.com
- You can write your address in any format or message as firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this example, if you signed up for an account at Lowes you could use that address on their website. Then, anytime you get email to that address you’ll know where it came from.
This helps you identify where your email address was compromised from other places. If, as in the case of Target, Home Depot, and other large retailers over the years, suffers an attack on their infrastructure that leaks your email address, you’ll notice it someday if you get an email about something else entirely that has that address.
Major retailers may not be a practical concern to you. But we’ve all come across random websites that have a recipe, guide, or other service you need momentarily but you know they’re going to spam you later. You can use these forwarding addresses to get at them without giving away your primary email address.
This can help protect you from phishing emails. It’s also a handy way of blocking emails that is generating too many messages. Simply filter the address and you’re done with them forever.
Apple Mail has a similar featured called Hide my Email that is built in to the latest versions of Apple Mail for Macs and iOS devices. No similar feature currently exists for Outlook or most other major email service providers.
Want more? Check out the rest of this email security series.
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