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Sending a truly anonymous email goes far beyond having strong encryption. Everyday email service providers like Gmail still track your name, IP address, and location. There are many moving parts to maintaining total anonymity online, like downloading a VPN, but it’s imperative to have every step in place to send an encrypted email.
What is an Anonymous Email?
An anonymous email is an email that has no apparent connection to you, the sender. Specifically, anonymous emails are secret, nameless, and don’t contain any personally identifiable information. These types of emails, in other words, cannot be traced back to you. Anonymous email carriers like ProtonMail will encrypt everything from your IP address to your email’s send time. Plus, your device’s name will be hidden in the process.
Why Do You Need One?
Contrary to popular belief, anonymous emails are beneficial in many ways— and for good reasons. On the surface, sending anonymous emails sounds like an excellent way for hackers to set up a phishing scam, but they can also create a lot of positive change.
Take a look at some scenarios below where sending anonymous emails can be helpful:
- You are a journalist writing about sensitive topics.
- You live in a country with strict censorship laws.
- You need to blow the whistle on an unethical company or government organization.
- You want to protect yourself from hackers or a potential security breach.
- You generally don’t want your information tracked online.
Most of the time, email providers alone won’t shield your identity. They may encrypt the content within your emails, but your personal information and IP address will remain public. That’s why, along with using a VPN, it’s important to apply each step below to send and receive emails 100% anonymously.
5 Steps to Send an Anonymous Email
Use a private browser
There are a variety of internet browsers for privacy that help you surf the web in incognito mode. Everyday browsers like Google Chrome and Internet Explorer allow companies to track your information and browsing habits. This level of tracking can lead to long-term cybersecurity issues, such as malware attacks and phishing emails. Private browsers, on the other hand, hide your identity and don’t sell your user data. Paired with a secure VPN with solid encryption like NordVPN, using a private browser like Brave will set you up for success when sending anonymous emails.
Download a VPN
VPNs create secure connections between their private network and your public network. They will not only encrypt your IP address but allow you to connect to servers in different locations across the world, too. Essentially, web browsers, large tech companies, and email providers won’t be able to track your location or personal information. When connecting to a public network, they can even mask your identity, creating an extra security layer against cyberattacks. VPNs are a great tool to use in conjunction with a private browser to ensure your anonymous emails remain as such. ExpressVPN is another excellent example of a VPN with remarkable security features.
Create a new email account
While everyday email providers like Google and Yahoo are intuitive and have high storage capabilities, they lack significantly when it comes to privacy and tracking. You can technically still set up a private account on Gmail, but you will still have to fill out information such as your name, location, and birthday— all of which would be an alias, of course. Your personal information, in other words, will likely continue to be asked for or even leaked with a regular email provider. That’s why we strongly suggest that you create an anonymous email with one of the providers below in a private browser.
Here are a few private email services we recommend:
Keep in mind that creating a private email address with one of these providers will only be 100% anonymous if you do so in a private browser while connected to a VPN.
Remove metadata from any files
It’s one thing to have an email address unknown to the receiver, but you could inadvertently give your personal information away depending on the content you put into your emails. Metadata like specific attachments can give away information like your name, which would defeat the purpose of having an unknown email address in the first place. Let’s use a Microsoft Word document as an example of an email attachment that could leak information. To combat any issues with metadata, be sure to run a Document Inspector on your Windows PC or manually wipe any EXIF data from the file.
Start sending emails anonymously
The fun part begins here! Simply create an email to send out like you would with any other provider. Just be sure to follow the first four steps, so you don’t experience any data leaks. And, of course, make sure your new email account has no relation or any information overlap with past versions.
Keeping Things Private
Sending anonymous emails can come with a variety of benefits if done correctly. As long as you create your new account on a private browser, use a VPN, and wipe any personal data from your email attachments, you will be able to send and receive emails without leaking any data that tracks back to you. Keep in mind that a secure VPN will thread the needle to ensure your browsing experience and online communications are 100% private.