Fake Email: How To Get A Temporary, Disposable Address


Are you looking for a way to receive or send emails anonymously? If yes, then a temporary or disposable email address can help. Whether registering for an online account or signing up for a newsletter, a fake email address can help protect your privacy. So, you might wonder how to get a temporary, disposable, or fake email address.

To get a fake email address, use an online service that provides an open inbox or message forwarding to your real inbox. An untraceable, fake email cannot be guaranteed. For most users wanting to protect their privacy, providers like SimpleLogin can protect their identity and thwart spam email.

According to the FBI, phishing incidents increased considerably, from 114,702 incidents in 2019 to 241,324 incidents in 2020. Projecting this trend shows how important it is to protect your email privacy. That said, let us look at the different ways to get a fake email and how to create one that is both free and disposable.

Woman holding paper plane and at symbol with a confident expression, knowing how to use a fake email address

Three Types of Services To Get Fake Email Addressees

There are three main types of temporary email address service providers. Regardless of the implementation, these types of fake emails can help you maintain privacy and cut down on spam.

The Unsecured Inbox

An open inbox service provides an unsecured and open email inbox that accepts any inbound email messages and allows anyone to read the contents. Typically after a specific period, emails are automatically deleted.

An excellent example of this type of service is Maildrop.

While most throwaway email address services have websites that look like they have not been updated for years, Maildrop offers a simple, clean, and aesthetic site focused on a single purpose.

Anyone can use any inbox without authentication/password verification. In other words, all you have to do is type a user name in the blank space in the upper right in front of @maildrop.cc. Then, click the [View Inbox] button to check if any messages have been sent to that email address.

For instance, if I want to send fake emails to data-overhaulers@maildrop.cc, I can simply enter “data-overhaulers” on the Maildrop site. I’m redirected to the view of that inbox. Try it out. Send an email, then view it in the unsecured data-overhaulers inbox.

However, there is a maximum number of emails that Maildrop inbox can receive. Every inbox can only receive up to 10 messages, and each message must be less than 500KB in size. Additionally, any attachments sent to the inbox are discarded, which is not a reliable option to send files.

The service also has a robust spam protection feature that will not allow any junk to your disposable inbox.

Another excellent addition is the presence of a per-inbox alias address. You can give out this secure alias address to hide or obfuscate the actual Maildrop address for additional security. This makes it difficult to track the destination maildrop.cc inbox. Others won’t be able to come to the site and review messages.

Back on our data-overhaulers@maildrop.cc example, the alias address can be found in the lower left of the inbox. If you send an email to D-hq0cvtms5mu7yt2@maildrop.cc, the message will show up in the inbox for data-overhaulers on Maildrop.

Maildrop only offers a temporary inbound email service. You cannot send emails, and you cannot use them permanently. Still, it is a reliable option for getting quick confirmation messages and keeping your own inbox clean.

I use Maildrop whenever I need to test my programming that sends emails. Over the years, many similar, open/unsecured inbox services have been launched. Here are a few that I’ve personally used:

Heads Up:

Some websites maintain a list of email domains (the part after the @ symbol) from fake email address services. They may block attempts to use disposable addresses.

Sepia photo of clerk in a train car mail room which is how fake email address forwarding works

Email Forwarding

Forwarding accounts typically have separate email domains, but they forward email to your real email account. There’s not a website used to read a message, but instead, their sites are used to control or route received messages.

Email forwarders usually have a freemium and/or advertisement-supported business model making their service generally available without charge. The free tier limits the choice of domains, the number of emails, or other restrictions. Paid plans give subscribers all the features for a fair and worthwhile price.

Important: Most email forwarding services only support inbound emails from the disposable email address. If you reply to the message, you’ll be sending it using your actual address.

I’m a happy patron of SimpleLogin, a free and open-source software (FOSS) email forwarding service. My favorite feature of this service is that I can reply to emails within my primary inbox. The emails appear to come from the masked email address. In developer terms, SimpleLogin could actually be described as an email abstraction layer for my ProtonMail account.

I use SimpleLogin for both personal and professional purposes. I typically create a unique email address for every service I use, like my dentist, bank, travel company, etc. On the professional side, each of my websites has its own set of vendor-specific email addresses.

Sounds like a lot, but your password manager makes it very easy to keep a unique email address for each company or website. This compartmentalizes communication, helps track an account involved in a data breach, and protects against phishing and spam. With SimpleLogin, it’s just a matter of turning off the compromised, hacked email address.

Before SimpleLogin, I used TrashMail. Their unique feature is automatically expiring an email address after a given number of forwarded messages or time period.

Also, check out AnonAddy, which is also open-source.

Email Providers with Built-In Aliases

Some email services actually include having several aliases attached to a single account. You’re able to send, receive, search, organize, and fully manage these fake email addresses from within the same account.

The downsides of this type of fake email solution include:

  • Typically limit the number of aliases
  • Limited to the same domain
  • Not easily disposed

Aliases offer a great way to protect the privacy of primary email addresses. You can use them as a temporary or disposable email address.

Since Gmail data mines your email content to offer their service for free, I switched to Mailfence, which provides up to 10 or more aliases on their paid plans. Most recently, I moved my email to the Plus plan on ProtonMail. While my subscription-only provides 5 email address aliases, I was more interested in their end-to-end (e2e), zero-knowledge (ZK) encryption, and Swiss jurisdiction.

These services allow you to create aliases by simply registering new usernames on one of their domains and plugging it into your account. For the tech-savvy reader, you can also plug in your custom domain to give you unlimited fake email addresses to use as aliases.

Another option is Tutaona which has both free and paid plans and boasts robust end-to-end encryption. Their first premium plan offers the same option of 5 aliases. And if you want more, you can move to a larger package in your account.

Note: The big tech email providers like Gmail, Outlook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the like do not provide native alias addresses.

Woman using a laptop wonder if she can create a fake email address in gmail

Can You Create A Fake Email Address In Gmail?

Gmail doesn’t allow users to create disposable or fake email addresses. But you can use the secret plus sign trick in your primary email address to compartmentalize email addresses.

It’s not exactly a fake email address, but here’s how it works…

Let’s say you wanted to sign up for the Fancy Fowl newsletter. You can enter your primary email address with a plus sign then an identifier. If your Gmail address is cartoon.duck@gmail.com, you will type cartoon.duck+fancyfowl@gmail.com

The Fancy Fowl email messages would arrive in your inbox like usual. Suppose later Fancy Fowl’s email list was involved in a password leak. In that case, you could quickly identify the source by looking at the +plus tag in the email address.

This works on several services though I’ve only tested it on Gmail.

Critical: This tip is not private or unique enough from your primary email.

Which Fake Email Address Service To Choose?

Generally, average users should choose a fake email service that forwards the message to their actual inbox, like SimpleLogin or AnonAddy. Subscribers to a privacy-respecting email provider like ProtonMail or Tutanota have built-in alias functions to get temporary or disposable email addresses.

Aside from creating fake email addresses or aliases, let’s take a look at your options and highlight the additional features of each of the services available.

SimpleLogin

For a good reason, this is my #1 recommendation: Most of the other services I’ve scrutinized have a gap or two in their feature collection. Some create disposable email addresses (DEAs) but do not allow you to create disposable email addresses on the fly and vice versa. Some also do not have a two-factor authentication which is a big no for me, particularly now when data breaches are at an all-time high.

SimpleLogin ticks all the boxes and continuously improves it by its author and community contributors.

Another great feature is that it allows you to create an email alias using Safari, Firefox, or Chrome extensions. They also have iOS and Android (F-Droid | Play) apps to manage your account.

ProtonMail

This full-featured email provider is an easy pick to de-Google your digital life. The company’s email features are constantly improving and make an excellent replacement for Gmail in my experience.

In addition to end-to-end encrypted email, ProtonMail now has a solid calendaring, robust contact management, an excellent file storage service, and an included VPN connection.

Tutanota

Tutanota is another formidable email service powerhouse based in Germany with excellent EU privacy legislation. The service has a great reputation in privacy circles with similar features and pricing as ProtonMail.

My favorite feature is how Tutanota handles secure emails to non-Tutanota recipients. The service creates a virtual inbox where emails can be decrypted by the recipient’s browser and read without signing up for an account.

Maildrop

What makes this service unique is that to use it, you only need to visit Maildrop.cc, key in a random email address, and you’re ready to go with a fake email inbox. Simplicity.

Their spam filter is robust, keeping only relevant content.

The only drawback is that it has no password, and anyone with the email address can view your inbox….which, as I mentioned, is mitigated by offering an email address alias to the anonymous inbox.

AnonAddy

This open-source DEAs provider is entirely free. It’s well-regarded and my next point of research.

Lawyer with magnifying glass inspecting envelope helping to track fake email

Can Fake Email Addresses Be Traced?

It is generally difficult to trace fake email addresses under average circumstances. With enough technical knowledge or law enforcement leverage, fake emails can be tracked. Users with average privacy concerns can safely use these services to protect their identity and inboxes from spam.

Services in jurisdictions with good privacy laws such as the EU and Switzerland are usually the best for such services.

Are Email Address Generators Illegal?

Email address generators are not illegal in most jurisdictions. There are several privacy benefits to using an anonymous inbox, email forwarder, or an email alias service. A local legal professional should review the legality of how a user plans to employ a fake email address.

I’m not a lawyer. Please consult your legal counsel about your individual use case if you have any concerns before using an email handling service.

Mike Chu

Mike is a web developer and content writer living as a digital nomad. With more than 20 years of devops experience, he brings his "programmer with people skills" approach to help explain technology to the average user. Check out his full author bio by clicking here.

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