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Track your Gmail address

25 Jul

One of the biggest e-irritants I have is that my email address gets “sold” to companies to spam me with promotions by businesses I use (and they deny it). This trick should help identify those buggers.

The trick uses the ability tack on an alias to your gmail address using the ‘+’ character e.g my.username+alias@gmail.com (where ‘alias’ that you’ll track).

So, for example, if you sign up for a service or are supplying an email an address a bank or insurance company, you can use their name e.g when you enter an email address for a bank like ABSA you can supply the address ‘my.username+absa@gmail.com’.

You’ll still receive mail from them in your ‘my.username@gmail.com’ inbox. All you now need to do is create a filter and Label emails to ‘my.username+absa@gmail.com’.

If you receive email or get companies that reference email to ‘my.username+absa@gmail.com’ you know who they got your email address from.

Fight the spam!

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2 Comments

Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Track your Gmail address

  1. Bernhard

    July 25, 2011 at 13:39

    If enough people take this approach it’ll be doomed. One simple regex will remove that alias that you have so conviniently placed between the + and @.

    Having said that, I have seen lots of people (who have their own domain names) use a catch-all email address, and then create an email address per signup. This results in email addresses that are harder to filter aliases out of: facebook@mydomain.com, microsoft@mydomain.com, goole@mydomain.com, etc.

     
  2. Bernd Jendrissek

    September 27, 2011 at 10:39

    Bernhard is correct; in fact spammers already remove the +suffix when they recognize it in a known-to-support-suffixes domain. So I’ve read – not that I would *know*. /me harvest some more email addresses

    In a slightly more awkward format, this technique can also work for street address – maybe even postal address? In some contexts you might also mutate your name (easy for weird names like mine). So you might live in number 12, 12a, 12b, 12g, in Smith Street, Smiths Street, Smith Road, Avenue, Avenues, Way, etc. Combine all these degrees of freedom and you can probably give a unique address to anyone who asks. A schlepp to remember who has what though!

     

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