Obfuscating your email is the best way to stop spammers bots from harvesting and storing your email address from a website, newsgroup or forum, spammers automated software follows certain patterns to identify and store an email address, they can’t comprehend it when a person has deliberately hidden his/her email address to be human readable only, they are also unable of following instructions.
- Change your email syntax: Replace the @ symbol in between your username and email domain name with (at) , (AT), the . with the words DOT and add spaces in between the words, for example: hacker10 (AT) fastmail DOT com
- Create a graphic image of your email address: Spambots can’t read the letters embedded in pictures like jpegs, with a graphics editor you can create a .jpeg with your email address inside it, after that you can then either upload it, if the site allows, or use a free file hosting image site and link to it, for example:
There are free online services that will create a graphical image of your email address in seconds you don’t even need a graphics editor.
- Use email plus addressing: If your main email address is firstname.lastname@example.org you could use email@example.com and all of the messages to that email address not only will still be delivered to your main email account but also classified into the folders named after the email username + symbol, plus email addresses structure goes like this:firstname.lastname@example.orgYou can create an unlimited number of throw away email addresses this way, not only you will be able to filter out one particular address if it receives unsolicited email, but also spot the source of the spam, if you have only used one email address for one site and nowhere else then it is clear where spammers harvested the email from.The main caveat to email plus addressing is that few free email services support this feature, Gmail and Fastmail do but with Yahoo it only works with its premium paid for email service. Another problem you might encounter using email plus addressing is that many webforms will not accept your email address because they do not recognise the + character as valid, Yahoo mail uses a – character instead, standing a better chance to be allowed inside webforms.
- Use a disposable email address: There are plenty of services available providing free disposable email addresses, aka DEA, most of them will erase your email address in just a few minutes or some weeks at most, disposable email addresses do not normally use a password and others choosing the same username could read the contents, you would have to avoid its use for emails containing personal information and choose a hard to guess username.Disposable Email Services:
- Yopmail: http://www.yopmail.com/en/
- Use an email forwarding service: If you need a disposable email address that lasts for months choose an email forwarding service instead, you will be asked to sign up which takes longer but you know that all subsequent email messages will be forwarded to you.Mail forwarding services:
- TrashMail: https://trashmail.com
- SpamGourmet: http://spamgourmet.com/
- Register a domain name and use it for email: For around $10 year you can register the domain name of your choice and use that domain as a mail forwarding address, your domain registrar will supply you with a control panel from where you can activate it for email and forward all of your messages to your real email address. Make sure to choose a domain name registrar with this facility, most of them do though.Domain registrars with email forwarding:
- Use RecaptCha mailhide: This free service from Google will convert your email address into a clickable link and it will ask users to enter a captcha code before they can see it, a captcha code is the same antispam system many blogs use to stop spambots commenting on them.
- reCAPTCHA Mailhide: http://www.google.com/recaptcha
- Choose a non obvious email addresses: Spammers use software to generate likely email username combinations. Do not use your own name or dictionary word as your main email address, it makes it harder to guess for an automated tool.If you need an easy to remember email address to give away you can use an alias email address that can be disabled if spam comes in but do not choose it as your main account email as you can not usually change it.
- Use email aliases: Many email services will allow you to create a second email address directing all of the email to your main account, always use an email alias when you communicate with someone, this way if that email is compromised you can always cancel it.