Fighting spam is an uphill battle. Each time you unsubscribe yourself from a junk email list, your inbox gets hit with double the amount the next day. What’s worse is not knowing how you got on that list in the first place.
While spam seems inevitable, you don’t have to put up with it anymore. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about creating a disposable email address, which can help reduce junk mail flow.
Use the Gmail customized emails trick
Although Google doesn’t have its own disposable email service, Gmail offers the ability to create customized emails that you can then throw away when you don’t need them anymore. If Google’s own ad features aren’t taking care of the problem, here’s how to use this tool.
Step 1: When asked to input your email on a service you’d rather not give your proper address to, type it in as normal, but end your email address with a specific tag — in this example, we used “+unwantedemail.gmail.com” (the plus sign is helpful for visibility, but not necessary). That way, when you receive an email from that service or company, it will have that additional moniker attached to it.
Emails sent to that address will appear in your inbox alongside all others, but with that specific tag on the end of the address, they are straightforward to eliminate or block entirely.
Step 2: Once you’re done receiving emails to that specific address, you can set up a Gmail filter to make sure that it automatically deletes any emails coming through to that address. To do so, type your particular tag in the search box at the top of your inbox and click the arrow on the right-hand side. Then put that tag into the From section of the filter form and click Create Filter.
Step 3: On the following page, tick the Delete It box and click Create Filter. You’ll no longer see any emails come through to that specific address.
Create a speedy extension with Burner Mail
Are you planning on signing up for a lot of different services, possibly as a tester or reviewer? Then you may prefer to install an extension that makes creating temporary email addresses much faster and easier. In this case, we recommend the well-crafted Burnermail extension. There are also options to create an account on the site and use disposable emails from there, but the extension is where the real value is.
Step 1: Navigate to the Burner Mail site and select the Install Burner Mail for Chrome (there’s also a download in the Chrome Store and a Firefox version if you prefer). This will add the Burner Mail icon to your browser window’s top right and enable the service as you explore the Web. You may need to sign in to your Google Account during this process.
Step 2: When you come across an email field you have to fill out, hover over it, and you should see the Burner Mail icon — a little flame on a letter — and a disposable email that has been automatically generated for you. Select it, and the email will be created and inserted into the field. This email will forward emails to your Gmail account as long as you want, but keep all your own email information secure.
Step 3: If you are getting emails you don’t want, spam, or have used the disposable email as long as you want, select the Burn email icon and view all the email addresses you have created. You will see an on/off toggle that shows the option Block Sender when you hover over it. Turn off the email address in question and it will be disabled, blocking all emails. You can enable it again if you need to. However, if you are clearly getting spam or the email is useless, select the “X” option to the right of Block sender, and you can delete the address entirely. You can have up to five addresses at a time with a free account and up to 30 addresses per day with a premium account, which costs $1.50 per month.
Step 4: You can also reply to emails using an automatically generated email address if you don’t want to give out the origination address, using the same process.
If you don’t like the look and feel of Burner Mail or want something more casual, we can also recommend other services. Mailinator lets you create any email address you want and self-deletes after a few hours. The only caveat is that the free service makes those emails publicly available during that time, as does Mailsac, unless you create an account. The service 10-Minute Mail only lasts 10 minutes, but you can manually refresh that timer to restart it, which is useful if you are using a spare email to try out a new service.
Maildrop users can send anonymous emails, but only less than 500k in length with no files or other attachments. You can only receive ten messages in an inbox and any inbox that doesn’t get an email in 24 hours gets scrubbed.