E-mail address in disguise

Generate temporary e-mail addresses that work for 24 hours with this spam-fighting add-on.

How many times have you broken down and passed out your primary e-mail account to Web sites and other online entities because you didn't have the time to mess with an extra account? Does it bother you that some sites ask for your e-mail address when clearly they don't need it? Do you get spammed after using your e-mail address to sign up for something? For these and other times when you don't care to share, there's My-spambox, a free Firefox add-on. My-spambox uses a JavaScript application to generate a temporary e-mail address that will function normally for 24 hours and then stop working. It's perfect for signing up to forums and Web sites that require an e-mail address.

We installed My-spambox and restarted Firefox. My-spambox placed an icon in the status bar in the lower right corner of the interface. We clicked it, and a small dialog opened with a field for our regular e-mail address. We entered our address and clicked OK, and a pop-up notified us that our temporary e-mail address had been created and copied to the clipboard. The first thing we did was test the address. We pasted it from the clipboard into a new e-mail and clicked Send. After a slightly longer wait than usual for a self-delivered e-mail, the message appeared in our inbox, correctly identified and normal in every way, except of course for the e-mail address: Instead of our default address, only the temporary address generated by My-spambox appeared in the message. Next we tried out our temporary address on the Web, successfully creating a blog. Every site we used our temporary e-mail address on responded correctly. Messages arrived in our inbox, only they lacked our main address.

So many sites ask for personal data these days that it's not difficult to imagine situations where My-spambox will come in handy. It can help protect your identity from theft as well as the annoying spam that often follows when you give out your e-mail address. Since it's your address and clearly identified as such, it's 100% legit. It just goes away after 24 hours, leaving spammers and snoops in the dark.

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