Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. You’re scrolling through your Facebook, Twitter, or Insta feed and you see an ad for a really cool giveaway. Maybe it’s a beauty box packed with full-size beauty essentials. Maybe it’s a much-needed vacay to Fiji. Sweet, right?! When you get to the signup page though, you have to put in your email. But last thing you want is the inevitable spam you’ll get. Well, friends, worry no more. There’s another way — so long as you have Gmail.
Generally, the main reason we don’t like giving out our email addresses to a bunch of different sites is that we don’t want those sites giving it to other people and then getting a lot of spam in our inboxes as a result. It’s hard to go through your inbox and hit “unsubscribe” on all of those unwanted emails.
But there’s a lesser-known Gmail feature that allows you to add what’s called a “tag” to your email address to make finding all those spammy emails — and the email-sharing culprit — a lot easier.
When you’re on a signup page, or anywhere that requires an email, but you don’t want to give out your regular email address, you can add a plus sign after the first part of your email (the part before the @) followed by whatever words you want. Then you just finish off the new address with the normal @gmail.com, and you have an email that makes it way easier to keep track of who has said email. And you can make as many of these as you want; we recommend one for each place you enter the email.
For example, take the address “email@example.com.” When you get to a signup page, you can add a tag to your email that describes the site you’re using it on. If you’re on a Fiji vacation giveaway site, you might add +fijigetaway to your email address, so it looks like: “firstname.lastname@example.org.” This way, you can then go to your Gmail account and create filters for that new email address.
Head to Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses and click “Create a New Filter.” In the “To” field, enter in the email you just created. Then hit “Create filter with this search.” Now you can choose to archive, star, mark as read, forward, delete, apply labels, etc. to every email that comes to that new email address. So if you start getting a lot of spam, this is the first thing to do.
But what if you’ve created a few of these emails and you don’t know which site is responsible for the spam you’re getting? Easy. Just open one of the emails from a newsletter you didn’t sign up for and click the down arrow next to “To:me” at the top.
It’ll expand to show the full email address you used to sign up. So if you didn’t already have a filter in place for that email address, now you know you should create one. Easy peasy!
Using a tagged email is one of the easiest ways to keep track of who has (and who’s giving out!) your email address. Since I found about about email address tags, I’ve never gone back. It seriously saves so much headache over the long run. Plus you can catch people in the act when they say they aren’t sharing your info!
How do you manage spam in your inbox? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)