Now that we taught you how to prevent companies from spying on your email with invisible images, it’s time to learn another handy trick that can improve your privacy. This time, we’re looking at a Gmail feature that lets you create unlimited email addresses.
The purpose of the trick is to come up with a unique email address in Gmail for each separate internet service you use. That way, when one of these companies shares your email with others, you’ll know exactly which company it was. And you can take appropriate action if you want.
You can sign up for as many different Gmail accounts as you want. By that, we mean different, unique Gmail email accounts to associate with each internet service. But that’s a pain because you’ll have to monitor so many different inboxes. Instead, you can create sub-addresses that operate within your main Gmail account.
By creating unlimited Gmail addresses inside a single account, you’re ensuring that all your email comes to the same primary inbox as your main Gmail account.
The process of creating these Gmail addresses is very easy. Say your Gmail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Just use a plus symbol (“+”) before the @ sign to create an unlimited number of email addresses.
For example, you might create a email@example.com address when signing up for Netflix. And you’d set up a firstname.lastname@example.org to sign-up for Facebook.
In each case, you will still get all the emails to the email@example.com address. But Netflix and Facebook will send emails to the addresses above. Whenever you receive an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com from a third party, you’ll know that either company has shared your email with that different entity.
Conversely, the unlimited Gmail addresses trick might help you score multiple free trials with online services. Like Netflix, for example. You’ll just need to use a different identifier after the “+” sign for each account. The caveat is that you will need access to multiple credit cards to make it happen.
Some internet companies might not support this Gmail trick. But LifeHacker points out there’s another Gmail trick you can use to get the same result. But this time, you won’t get an unlimited number of addresses.
Let’s say that the firstname.lastname@example.org trick doesn’t work. We can alter the “gmail” part to “googlemail.” Therefore, we can switch to email@example.com to subscribe and ditch the part after the “+” sign.
The important thing to remember is that you have to type these unlimited Gmail email addresses when you sign up for a new service. You don’t have to set them up inside Gmail at all — anything after the + is irrelevant to Gmail. It will simply funnel everything to your main inbox. Just remember to try the “+” trick the next time you sign up for a new account.
The ultimate way to hide your email is to take advantage of dedicated services that are engineered specifically for that purpose. Apple offers Hide My Email support to iPhone users, for example. Similarly, DuckDuckGo can block emails from being tracked.