Senior Computer Tutor
Protect Email Addresses from
Being Seen by Strangers
Always Use BCCs!
(Blind Carbon Copies)
At one time or another you may have received an email containing a joke or an inspirational message from a well-meaning friend who also sent the email to several other people. You may have also noticed that all their email addresses are shown near the top of the message.
This is because everyone's email address had been placed in the CC: (carbon copy) box of the outgoing message. It's also very likely that many of the people whose email addresses are on display did likewise when they forwarded the message to all their friends.
Well, this is one of main methods used by spammers, hackers, and virus-creators to obtain valid email addresses. If you do a little math, it's easy to see that a message sent to, say, 12 people, who in turn forward it to another dozen friends, your email address could have been placed on hundreds of copies ot the original message.
Yes, we realize that none of your friends would ever give all these email addresses to a cyber-criminal. But when there are hundreds (if not thousands) of copies floating around - with some being printed on paper - how can you be sure about whose hands they might fall into?
Unfortunately, many email services make the BCC field hard to find, while the CC field is always in plain view. It should be the other way around.
Here are some examples of finding the BCC option in various services:
, sadly, has its BCC field hidden,
and will only be displayed after you've clicked on Create
and then View
Fortunately, it's a one-time fix.
Gmail's Add BCC
is fairly easy to find.
Hotmail & Windows Live Mail want you to show both the CC and
OK - show them both, but just use
Yahoo Mail's Show BCC
is fairly easy to find.
Here's the BCC field in my AOL/AIM email account.
Finding the BCC box in Hotmail/Outlook
can be seen here.
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