TL; DR: When consumers share personal email addresses online, their inboxes often become inundated with unwanted messages. Burner Mail is a service that allows users to control that deluge by generating email addresses — or burners — for online forms. That means companies don’t have direct access to consumers, and Burner Mail users can cut off correspondence at any time. And the premium version of Burner Mail offers even more control and space, allowing users to avoid spam and threats.
Sharing an email address online is second nature to most consumers. They typically have to enter it every time they order a pair of shoes, sign up for a service, or just want to learn more about a product.
Those email addresses may not stay between consumers and the websites they visit. Companies often choose to sell that data to third parties that can flood consumer inboxes with unsolicited ads and offers. Even worse, a data breach could put email addresses in the hands of cybercriminals.
The United States experienced more than 1,632 data breaches in 2017. The following year, cybercriminals gained access to the personal data of more than 471 million Americans.
Those statistics troubled Serge Calbo and Alexandra Persea, two software engineers who saw a rising concern among consumers. So they created Burner Mail, a platform that allows users to shield their email addresses in their online interactions.
“We noticed an alarming increase in data breaches starting in 2017, and that grew a market of users that were more conscious about their digital privacy,” said Serge. “That brought more attention to privacy-focused services, including Burner Mail.”
Burner Mail works by generating a unique email address for signups, transactions, or any other website form. That address links to their email through Burner Mail but is not visible to the company on the other end.
While companies can still use the generated email address to send ads, deals, and newsletters, Burner Mail users can elect to stop receiving the emails at any time. When they block an address, all of the spam goes away — and the entity on the other end can’t contact them again.
Users Can Avoid a Variety of Email-Related Scams and Attacks
When hackers obtain email data, they often attempt to exploit it to gain access to personal financial information. One of the most common ways they accomplish that objective is through phishing scams.
A common phishing scam is an email that directs users to reset their password on an account. It may look legitimate, but it dupes users into handing control of their account over to cybercriminals.
Malware and ransomware can appear as authentic-looking links in the body of an email message, but serve to download viruses onto your computer or device. And ransomware can lock up essential data to extract a ransom from the user.
Keeping an inbox free of those threats is becoming increasingly important, and Burner Mail offers more than just a service.
“I would say we offer peace of mind. It’s knowing that you don’t have to worry about being the victim of phishing scams, data breaches, fraudulent emails, and identity theft,” Serge said.
Users can protect themselves from future cyber threats and see if their information has been compromised in the past. With Burner Mail’s Data Breach Checker, anyone can enter their email address to determine if it has been involved in any significant data breaches.
The breach checker also displays what other types of information the cybercriminals gained access to, including passwords, names, location data, and even social media profiles. And Burner Mail adds more peace of mind because the company pledges never to sell or spam email addresses that it checks for breaches.
Eliminating Spam and Targeted Messages to Keep Inboxes Clean
A lot of email correspondence is not malicious but annoying. When someone sees hundreds of messages in their inbox, many could be offers for products and services they never signed up for. That is more of a spam problem than a scam problem.
Once people enter their email addresses in an online form, they will often get sold to third parties that will continue to circulate them in perpetuity. Today, nearly 54% of all email is spam, and while some of the more malicious messages may make their way into a spam folder, the number of marketing emails that make it through those filters can be overwhelming.
“One thing that draws customers to Burner Mail is the shared frustration of being spammed to death by internet companies, Serge said. “I love the idea of not having my private and personal email address out in the open. You could compare it with your home address or Social Security number.”
Burner Mail empowers users to feel like they can take advantage of everything that email offers without actually giving their email address away.
Users can choose to receive mail from any of their burner accounts, but if it becomes too cumbersome, they can turn those accounts off. And if premium Burner Mail users need to reply to a message, it also shows up from the burner account, so the platform continues to protect their privacy.
Protecting Users on Social Media and Ecommerce Platforms
“We recently launched versions of our mobile app for iOS and Android, and we’re pretty excited about those. A lot of work went into them, and now people can easily use Burner Mail from anywhere,” Serge said.
The mobile app gives users the option to generate a new burner email at any time, copy it, and paste it into form. That can come in handy when signing up for multiple social media accounts or even deals on ecommerce sites that require an email address in exchange for a discount code.
The free version allows users to generate five burner email addresses and access to one inbox where messages are saved for one week.
The premium account offers unlimited customizable email addresses and as many dedicated mailboxes as the user needs, among other features.
And Burner Mail offers an informative blog to keep people updated on the latest issues surrounding email security. The blog also has resources for those who are unsure about the benefits of using a burner account to insulate themselves from spam and fraud.
One post discusses why password managers aren’t failsafe security solutions. That’s because fraud emails are getting so sophisticated that users still mistake them for authentic messages. But if a user finds out that a company data breach exposed their Burner Mail account, they can simply turn it off and protect themselves.
Burner Mail: Innovating New Features Based on Feedback
Spam and fraud are two of the most frustrating byproducts of having personal email accounts. But Burner Mail allows people to manage both of those potential hazards while adding a security layer between themselves and marketers or cybercriminals.
And the company continues to look for more products and services to provide greater convenience and help its customers stay safe. That process for adding new features begins with user feedback.
“We have a feature tracking system that allows our users to vote so we can see their most requested features,” Serge said.
Upcoming features on the company’s road map are custom tags that enable users to categorize and filter their burners. Another tool in the works is a bulk burner deleting capability that will allow users to clean out their entire account of information that is no longer useful.
By sticking with its mission of enhancing user safety while making the experience more convenient, Burner Mail plans to help people as long as email accounts exist.