Tips : Safeguarding Privacy of E-mail Addresses

HOW EXPOSED IS YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS? Ever wonder how someone you don’t know got your email address? Are you annoyed paging down an email past tons of forwarded addresses to get to the real message? Ever think your friends could be exposing your privacy without knowing it? Are you doing the same to them?

When sending a favorite or inspirational message to a group of people, it’s easy to press ‘forward’ and add your friends addresses, but then each of them often adds more people before forwarding on. Eventually, the poor recipient several ‘forwards’ down the line has to waste time paging to get the message. Forget about printing it at that point. On the other end, is the stranger down the line who decides to harvest the email addresses to sell or send their own brand of spam.

So, why not send blind copies (where the person’s address will NOT appear at the top of the email as one of the recipients.)

Here’s how:
1) Your email software has a Send To: and Copy To: function for composing mail. Yours may be called TO: and CC:. If your software has a third line called BCC: for blind copies, just put your friends’ email addresses in that box.Sometimes there is a BCC: button within your address book so you can highlight the name and click that button. If there is no blind copy button or line, then you have to put each address in parentheses and place it in the CC:. box. So instead of “BettyJones @ aol.com” you type “(BettyJones@ aol.com)”. Some email programs allow you to put the parentheses just once around all names : “(BettyJones@ aol.com, JoeJones@ aol.com). If you are not sure, try your software’s help menu. Send a test email to a couple of your friends.

2) Always put your email as the addressee in the TO: box. The first line of your text could say fyi – “sent to Janet M., Bill, Betty and Terry B. ” to alert everyone about who received a blind copy and to avoid friends receiving many copies.

3) When you press the SEND button, your email goes to each person, showing only his/her name at top of the email. None of the recipients sees the addresses of anyone else to whom you sent the email. Only your copy will show all of the recipients listed for your records.
Another option is to NOT forward the email but compose a new message, then copy and paste just the pertinent text into the new window. Use caution with animated images since the copy may not work properly. Give credit by saying “received from a friend”, or “floating around the internet” and again use the BCC: as outlined above for more than one person!
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This is an article in the series Computer Tips Newsletter – “A guide to getting the cobwebs out of your computer”. Use the comment icon below to add your views. For a private reply, use the contact us form on our website.


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