Services such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix offer limited-time test runs of their services, but if you’re ambitious enough, it doesn’t have to stop there. In fact, you can theoretically continue enjoying the services for free by using a different email address after the trial period expires. Retailers — both online and off — also tend to demand an email address in order to take advantage of their offers, but that can lead to emails that you don’t want — and spam today is more dangerous than ever.
While there are many ways to stop email spam, one of the best solutions to multiple issues is to create disposable email addresses. There are a few different ways to make them, but we have our favorite methods.
Use the Gmail customized emails trick
Although Google doesn’t have its own disposable email service, Gmail offers the ability to create customized emails that you can then throw away when you don’t need them anymore. If Google’s own ad features aren’t taking care of the problem, here’s how to use this tool.
Step 1: When asked to input your email on a service you’d rather not give your proper address to, type it in as normal, but end your email address with a specific tag — in this example, we used “+unwantedemail.gmail.com” (the plus sign is helpful for visibility, but not necessary). That way, when you receive an email from that service or company, it will have that additional moniker attached to it.
Emails sent to that address will appear in your inbox alongside all of the others, but with that specific tag on the end of the address, they are very easy to eliminate or block entirely.
Step 2: Once you’re done receiving emails to that specific address, you can set up a Gmail filter to make sure that it automatically deletes any emails coming through to that address. To do so, type your particular tag in the search box at the top of your inbox and click the arrow on the right-hand side. Then put that tag into the From section of the filter form and click Create filter with this search.
Create a speedy extension with Burner Mail
Are you planning on signing up for a lot of different services, possibly as a tester or reviewer? Then you may prefer to install an extension that makes creating temporary email addresses much faster and easier. In this case, we recommend the well-crafted Burnermail extension. There are also options to create an account on the site itself and use disposable emails from there, but the extension is where the real value is at.
Step 1: Navigate to the Burner Mail site and select the Install Burner Mail for Chrome (there’s also a download in the Chrome Store if you prefer). This will add the Burner Mail icon to the top right of your browser window and enable the service as you explore the Web. You may need to sign into your Google Account during this process.
Step 2: When you come across an email field you have to fill out, hover over it and you should see the Buner Mail icon — a little flame on a letter — and a disposable email that has been automatically generated for you. Select it, and the email will be created and inserted into the field. This email will forward emails to your Gmail account as long as you want, but keep all your own email information secure.
Step 3: If you are getting emails you don’t want, spam, or have simply used the disposable email as long as you want, select the Burn email icon and view all the email addresses you have created. You will see an on/off bar that shows the option Block sender when you hover over it. Turn off the email address in question and it will be disabled, blocking all emails. You can enable it again if you need to. However, if you are clearly getting spam or the email is useless, select the “X” option to the right of Block sender and you can delete the address entirely. You can have up to 20 addresses at a time.
Step 4: You can also reply to emails using an automatically generated email address if you don’t want to give out the origination address, using the same process.
If you don’t like the look and feel of Burnermail or want something more casual, we can also recommend other services. Mailinator lets you create any email address you want and self-deletes after a few hours – but the free service makes those emails publically available during that time. 10 Minute Mail only lasts 10 minutes, but you can manually refresh that timer to restart it, which is useful if you are using a spare email to try out a new service.