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Using a Decoy E-Mail Account

If I don't trust you, you get the throwaway mailbox
If I don't trust you, you get the throwaway mailbox

You may have noticed the lifecycle of e-mail accounts goes something like this:

  1. New – You worked hard to get a username that hadn't been taken. You've excited to share it with all the people you know.
  2. 1st Spam – Some jerkwad has defiled your account by sending you a random unwanted advertisement or Phishing e-mail. No big deal… it's just one after all.
  3. Tipping point – It's starting to get serious. You're getting more bogus e-mails every day than real.
  4. Abandonment – You've given up on the account. There seems to be no way to repair the damage and you're resigned to moving on. You create a new e-mail account and start the cycle over again.

The problem with this approach is that changing e-mail addresses can be extremely difficult. All your friends and family can probably be updated with the new address by sending them all a simple e-mail with the new address. But all those web stores and accounts you have will have to be updated manually. It can be done, but it's a chore. Worst case, you used this account for business and now you have to update all your customers which is not only a pain, but looks pretty unprofessional.

Creating a Decoy

The way this works is very simple, pick and use an e-mail account for your friends, family, business contacts, etc. Then go and make a DIFFERENT one perhaps the same one, but with a series of numbers after it.

Ex: butterbean@yahoo.com for your main account and butterbean100@yahoo.com for your buffer.

Now all you have to do is keep your main account safe by not giving it out to any websites or people you don't trust. For anyone you're not sure of or anyone you don't plan to do business with over a period of time (for example, making a single web purchase from a store online), provide the decoy.

Do your best to keep spam and other e-mail garbage out of both, but if eventually the decoy account gets buried and becomes useless, discard it and get another one (butterbean101@yahoo.com for example).

E-mail Dangers

Until we find out who the people are who actually buy things from spammers and kick them off the Internet, you're going to have to learn how to deal with and prevent spam.
E-mail Viruses - Learn how viruses are spread through e-mail and how to stop them
Phishing - Spot and avoid lures that pull you into the dark side of the web
Don't be one of those people that loses thousands of dollars to the classic Nigerian Scam.

E-mail Etiquette

Use CC only when necessary and BCC the rest of the time.
Use Reply-All when you mean to and never when you don't.
Practice proper E-mail Forwarding to protect privacy and make e-mails more readable.
Always personalize your e-mails to make it obvious to your recipient that it's valid.

E-mail Tips and Tricks

Using E-Mail Aliases Properly - Be careful about using sensitive data (like your real name) in an e-mail account.
Remember to treat your e-mail account with the security it deserves.
Use a decoy e-mail account to keep your main e-mail account free of spam.
Avoid using any Internet provider's default e-mail.
IDENTITY THEFT
How to Steal Identities - Why It's So Easy
Credit Freeze
Data Defense
Credit Monitoring
Id Theft Insurance
The Identity Theft Victim's Mini-Guide to Recovery
PRIVACY
The Geek Privacy Principle
Nothing to Hide
Data Abuse
RFID - Radio Frequency IDentification
Privacy Alias/Persona
Data Defense
INTERNET SAFETY
Online Addiction
The Consequences of Posting Online
Photo Safety
Tricks and Scams
Account Hijacking
Trusting Companies
PASSWORDS
Bad Passwords
Password Tips and Tricks
Password Protection
Password Mugging
Computer Security
E-mail Safety
Kids and Computers
Shopping Online
Retailers
All About Warranties

Phishing

By far the most dangerous thing you'll find in e-mails is a lie. Sending a bogus e-mail to someone is generally called phishing, but can also be referred to as a Nigerian scam (depending on the goal of the e-mail). Learn to recognize and deal with phishing before it's too late.

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Preventing Spam

Spam is annoying and worthless, but you still see it every single day. Here are some tips for preventing and reducing spam.

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E-mail Viruses

Make sure that viruses don't sneak onto your computer through your e-mails. Read some simple tips to prevent that from happening.

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Phishing

By far the most dangerous thing you'll find in e-mails is a lie. Sending a bogus e-mail to someone is generally called phishing, but can also be referred to as a Nigerian scam (depending on the goal of the e-mail). Learn to recognize and deal with phishing before it's too late.

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Nigerian Scam

Many people have lost thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to the classic Nigerian Scam. Don't fall for it!

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How to Use "CC" Properly

Don't violate people's privacy and invite spam into their accounts by CC'ing all your contacts. Learn the proper way to send mass e-mails first.

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Reply-All

It's easy to embarass yourself or harm your career when you don't know how to use Reply-All appropriately.

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How to Forward E-mails Properly

Don't forward e-mails carelessly or you risk looking foolish as best and violating the privacy of all your contacts at worst.

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Personalize E-mail

Follow this simple rule of e-mail etiquette to help prevent your friends and family from falling for phishing scams.

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Using E-Mail Aliases Properly

It can be hard to find a good name to use in an e-mail account that hasn't been used and doesn't give away too much information about you.

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Protecting E-mail Passwords

Your e-mail account is the most important online account you have. Remember to treat it as such!.

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Using a Decoy E-Mail Account

Why it's very important to use a buffer e-mail account to shield your main account from people and companies that you don't trust.

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The ISP E-mail Trap

Don't fall for the trap of using the free e-mail account provided to you by your Internet service!

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