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  • Undercover on the Internet
    By John Nolt

    These days an email address is as important and personal as your home phone number. As part of our continuing efforts to combat the menaces of spam and fraud on the Internet, EarthLink members can now sign up for the FREE EarthLink ProtectionPack, which includes anonymous, disposable email addresses useful for keeping your real email address hidden as you go about your online business.

    Now only people you know and trust need ever see your true email address.

    It's a What?

    An anonymous email address is an address that looks something like this:

    lyrical-73980@mypacks.net

    You can send and receive email using these addresses just like your regular email address, and at no time does your regular email address appear in messages sent to or from an anonymous address.


    Web Mail is Where it's At

    All of the action happens on Web Mail. You sign in using your regular email address, and on the left side you'll see your ProtectionPack. If you haven't signed up yet, you'll just see a ProtectionPack link. Once you have some anonymous addresses, you'll see them listed under the ProtectionPack folder.

    You'll use Web Mail to read and send email using your anonymous addresses, delete them, add new ones, etc. Everything happens in Web Mail.

    No Fuss, No Muss

    Anonymous Email Addresses are meant to be disposable. When one starts getting too much spam, you can delete it and get another one.

    You can activate ten (10) anonymous email addresses per email address at any one time. So, if your EarthLink account comes with 8 free email addresses, you can have 10 anonymous email addresses for each of your regular email addresses. That way everyone in your family can keep their real email address private.

    Over the life of your email address, you can activate up to 100 anonymous email addresses.

    Activating Your Anonymous Email Addresses

    If you're an EarthLink member and you sign in to Web Mail, you'll see "ProtectionPack" link on the left side. You'll get lots of instructions as you go along.

    Activating Your Anonymous Email Addresses

    Click that link to get yourself a batch of anonymous email addresses. You'll get five of these addresses to start.

    After you've signed up, it may take a while for your anonymous addresses to appear in Web Mail. So, before you use an anonymous address, sign into Web Mail to make sure they appear in your ProtectionPack folder. If they don't show up within 3 days, just call or chat online with our Customer Support to get it taken care of right away.

    Anonymous Strategies

    Once you have some anonymous email addresses, what do you do with them?

    • Keep your anonymous addresses handy when shopping online. Use one of your Anonymous Email Addresses to receive email on billing, shipping and status of your order.
    • Use different addresses for different purposes. Use one anonymous address for personals, one for shopping, one for professional clubs, etc. You'll be able to tell who is selling your email address to spammers based on how much spam comes into that anonymous address.
    • Give anonymous addresses to people you just met. No need to give your private email address to strangers.

    There are many uses for Anonymous Email Addresses. I asked around, and here are some of the ways my coworkers are using their anonymous addresses.

    Anonymous addresses give April Sullivan freedom to try things on the Internet without worrying that she's giving up private information or letting herself in for a ton of spam:

      "I only use one anonymous email address. I use the address when I sign up for different Web sites, offers that may come through the mail or any other type of promotional campaigns that I receive that I have to give an email address for registration."

    Cary Long uses anonymous addresses for temporary things:

      "I use them for making purchases online or when signing up for various online newspapers. That way when I'm done, I can delete the mailbox and not receive unwanted spam from that newspaper or online merchant, should they decide to sell the email address."

    Matt Getz uses them to keep his research out of his private life:

      "I use them when I'm doing genealogy. A lot of newspaper sites require a free online registration just to get some basic info (for genealogy, birth/death/marriage announcements). So, rather than pollute my regular email address with all of these online registrations and follow-up solicitations from the newspapers, I use the anonymous email addresses (one for each type of record I'm searching for)."

    Using Anonymous Email Addresses

    Checking Your Anonymous Email Address for New Mail
    1. Sign in to Web Mail using your regular email address. (The one you used when you registered your ProtectionPack addresses.)
    2. Under ProtectionPack in the left column, click the Anonymous Email Address folder for the address you wish to check. You'll see a list of messages just like any other folder in Web Mail.
    Using an Anonymous Email Address to Send Email
    1. Sign in to Web Mail using your regular email address. (The one you used when you registered your ProtectionPack addresses.)
    2. Click Write Message
    3. Select an anonymous email address from the From drop-down menu.
    How to Delete an Anonymous Email Address
    1. Sign in to Web Mail using your regular email address. (The one you used when you registered your ProtectionPack addresses.)
    2. Click on the ProtectionPack folder in the left menu bar.
    3. Click Manage ProtectionPack.
    4. Click the delete link next to the address you want to delete.

    When you delete an anonymous email address, you can move any email it has received to your Inbox, or just delete it all.

    Getting More Anonymous Email Addresses
    1. Click the ProtectionPack folder
    2. Click Manage ProtectionPack
    3. Click Add More Anonymous Email Addresses

    You can have 10 anonymous email addresses per email address at any one time. Over the life of your email address, you can activate up to 100 anonymous email addresses for each regular email address on your EarthLink account.


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