Using Catch-All Email Addresses as an Effective Method for Stopping Email Spam and Improving Your Privacy
I open my mail inbox and see some new emails. Wow, somebody wants to donate 2 million dollars to me. Isn’t that great? All I have to do is to send a payment myself first. Yeah, I’d rather not. And next up is an online account of mind that just got suspended. But worry not, I can fix it all by clicking an extremely trustworthy link.
Email is old. And spam is all too present. While I’m certainly not in the target group of said spam, it’s annoying nevertheless. And thus recently, I’ve been exploring options not only for configuring your own email address, but also for combating spam.
The internet initially started out in a decentralized way. Everyone was encouraged to run their own web services. And among the limited number of users, a lot of them were able to. But as time passed by, more and more corporations took advantage of the internet and contributed to its
Back when I published that post, I mentioned that reusing email addresses for your online accounts hurts your privacy and creates security risks. All it takes is one of the online services you use to be hacked, and your email address will be part of a data breach, subsequently being misused.
If you use the same email and password for other accounts as well, then great — those accounts are now also at risk. So before you proceed further, you should take a minute and verify if that is the case for any of your email addresses using the great website HaveIBeenPwned.
Create Email Addresses on Demand
I looked to multiple services offerings, like those of AnonAddy or SimpleLogin. They both work just fine, but there is actually a better solution, if you have your own domain. If you’re not willing to use your own domain for your email addresses, you can just stick with the two services previously mentioned.
Introducing: Catch-All Email Addresses
Well then let’s get to the interesting part: The solution I’ve found is just as simple as it is effective: catch-all email addresses
A catch-all email address is the email address all emails are sent to, which are delivered to undefined email inboxes. With this setup, you will receive all emails sent to your domain.
If you own the domain
example.com and have set up the catch-all address
email@example.com then you can now use emails like
firstname.lastname@example.org when signing up for new online accounts. And that's really all you need to do. If you'd like, you can use separate email accounts for receiving catch-all emails and personal email communication to avoid cluttering your inbox.
When I started looking into the topic of custom email addresses, I wish I’d found out about this sooner, as it would’ve saved me quite a lot of time. But at least you can do it now, so what are you waiting for?