Gmail has a great feature which allows you to create an unlimited number of email addresses based on your actual Gmail address. You can append plus sign (+) and any word after that, and that email address will still come to your Gmail mailbox. If your email address is johndoe@gmail for example, you will still receive the email if someone sends an email to johndoe+test@gmail, or johndoe+tech@gmail, or johndoe+games@gmail, etc. You can leverage this feature by creating a unique email address like johndoe+apple@gmail, or johndoe+cnn@gmail, etc. for each website you registered.
These individual pseudo email addresses will help you to identify the original registration website if they sold your email address to a third party or unknown service and you start receiving spam or junk emails from those services. Using these pseudo email address for all of your web registrations and subscriptions, you can easily configure your Mailbox filters to manage or block incoming emails.
Coming up with a random string and creating a unique email address every time is a bit hassle, so I created a AutoHotKey script which will automate the process a bit.
email := "johndoe"
string := "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"
suffix := ""
Random, Var, 1, 98
char = % SubStr(string, Var, 1)
suffix = %suffix%%char%
Please change the value of email (Line: 2) in the script from “johndoe” to your email. If you email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, change the value of the email (Line: 2) to “firstlast”.
With the above script running in AutoHotKey, press Ctrl+Shift+E whenever you need a unique address on email field while registering to a website and script will generate that unique email address for the site and place it in the email field of the registration form.
Here are few generated email address examples by the script:
For every registration or subscription to the web site, you should receive some form of confirmation email which will help you to identify the original registration website. Received a spam email which uses your unique email address? Search for that email address in your mailbox, and you will know who’s the culprit.
This hack should also work for other email service providers like Outlook etc. Change the AutoHotKey script accordingly.