There are a lot of services that create disposable email addresses you can use when signing up for web services where you’d rather not give out an email address at all. Some are free, or have a free option – others cost money but also save all your spam so you can tell who’s giving out your email address.
If you don’t care about saving your spam, SpamGourmet is a really interesting free option. You sign up your real email address and confirm it by clicking the link they email to it. Now you can create disposable email addresses on the fly simply by giving out made-up email addresses that conform to Spam Gourmet’s set up. I found their instructions a little confusing, so I’ve taken their most simple method and written a brief little how-to:
- Let’s say you’re signing up for a free account on WhateverWebsite and they require an email address.
- Let’s say your username with SpamGourmet is “spamcowboy.”
- You would give WhateverWebsite the address “WhateverWebsite.sitez@spamgourmet.” The “WhateverWebsite” part of the address can be anything – I just picked something that tells me what site sent it because of what you can do in Step 4.
- The default number of emails you’ll receive at this email address is 3. What if you want to receive more than that so you can track down some spam senders? Put any number up to 20 (the maximum allowed) in the email address like this: WhateverWebsite.firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all you have to do. Because your username is in every email address you make up, you can make up as many disposable emails as you want, and they will all come to your SpamGourmet account, where it will send you the number of emails you’ve chosen to receive and get rid of the rest. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really a simple solution.