Dear Lifehacker, I'm in need of your advice regarding Gmail. I need to send out a group email to my fellow employees and need to keep my identity secret (it's not as dodgy as it sounds!), but still be able to receive replies. Is there any way I can set this up to my Gmail account without having to sign up for a completely new one? Cheers, Anon
As far as we're aware, Gmail doesn't offer the ability to send email anonymously, since that would be an open invitation to spammers. (If any readers know otherwise, tell us in the comments.) You can use disposable email addresses, but their sender is still pretty easily identified by humans, since the address is in the form [email protected]
You can get pretty effective, low-maintenance anonymity if you set up a new Gmail account and automatically redirect it to your main account. Here's the basic steps you need to follow:
- Make sure you've signed out of your mail Gmail account. (If you don't want to mess with your saved passwords and cookies, use a different browser or switch into private browsing mode.)
- Visit the Gmail signup page and create a new account. Don't use anything in your username or signup details that might identify you.
- Once the account is set up, go into 'Settings', select the 'Forwarding and POP/IMAP' tab, choose 'Add a forwarding address', and enter your regular email address. This triggers a confirmation code process (needed to stop your randomly forwarding your email to accounts you don't control).
- Send your mysterious message, sign out and return to your regular email account. There'll be a confirmation code in that account. Copy it to the clipboard, then sign out.
- Sign back into your new 'anonymous' account and add the confirmation code to your account the Forwarding page. Sign out again.
Once that's done, any replies will be copied to your regular Gmail address. Yes, this requires you to set up a second account — but once you've set it up, you don't need to log into it again. Just don't make the mistake of sending a reply from your main account.