If you’ve ever used a fake name when signing up for a new service online as a way to protect yourself, that doesn’t really prevent companies from tracking you. Using an alternative or fake email address is an easy and more effective way, according to Consumer Reports.
These days many big tech companies track and share details about almost everything you do on the internet. That includes what you search, the sites you visit and the people you connect with online. But, how do they know who you are?
“One of the main ways that they do it is tying your identity together using your email address,” said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Thomas Germain.
To limit that, Germain said you may want to try an alternative or fake email service.
“There are a number of these tools and they all work a little bit differently, but basically, they give you an alternative email that isn’t tied to your real identity that you can plug in when you’re signing up on a new website,” he said.
Maybe you’ve seen “Sign in with Apple,” on some sites. It generates a random, unique email address for Apple users. Then, any emails from that site can be forwarded to your regular inbox without them ever knowing your real address. You’ll get the emails you need without being tracked.
The Firefox browser offers Firefox Relay. It allows users to create up to five fake email addresses for free or get unlimited ones for 99 cents a month.
“And then there are a number of temporary email services that give you an email inbox you can use, but then it self destructs after about 10 minutes,” Germain said.
For most temporary email services, you don’t have to create an account. 10MinuteMail, Temp-Mail, Minute Inbox and EmailOnDeck are popular services.
Something like this could come in handy when you’re asked for an email address to get an instant online discount, for example.
A bonus to using any fake email address is getting less spam in your real inbox.
If you think creating an extra Gmail or other email account will keep big tech from tracking you, think again. Consumer Reports says if you’re using the same devices, companies will easily be able to identify you.
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