Did you ever use a fake name when signing up for a new online service as a way to protect your privacy?
It turns out that doesn’t do a lot to keep companies from tracking you, but, as Consumer Reports explains, an alternative or fake email address is an easy and more effective way of doing just that.
These days, many big tech companies are sharing details about almost everything you do on the Internet, includes what you search for, the websites you go to and the people you connect with online.
But how do they know who you are?
One of the main ways is finding your identity by using your email address. If you want to limit that, according to Consumer Reports, you might 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 enter when you’re signing up on a new website.
Maybe you’ve seen “Sign in with Apple” on some sites. It generates a random, unique email address for Apple users. Then, any email from that site can be forwarded to your regular inbox without companies ever knowing your real address. The upside: You get the email you need without being tracked.
The Firefox browser offers Firefox Relay. It allows users to create up to five fake email addresses free of charge 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 that self-destructs after about 10 minutes.
For most temporary email services, you don’t even have to create an account. 10MinuteMail, Temp-Mail, Minute Inbox and EmailOnDeck are popular services.
When would something like this come in handy? Maybe when you’re asked for an email address to get an instant online discount.
The bonus to using any fake email address is that there will be less spam in your “real” inbox.
You may think that creating an extra Gmail or other email account will keep big tech from tracking you, but if you’re using the same devices, companies will easily be able to identify you.