A Free Educational Resource Created by Carnegie Mellon University to Empower You to Secure Your Part of Cyberspace

Dummy Account

An email account created to divert unimportant or unsolicited mail

A dummy account is an email account, often a free webmail account, that a user sets up to divert unimportant or unsolicited mail. The user may use the dummy account to sign up for e-newsletters and also to register for Web sites that require an email address before giving a user access to content, products or services. Such Web sites may be the source of email that is of no interest to the user. Or, such Web sites might share the user's information with third parties. In either case, the user ends up receiving spam, so the user gives out the email address of the dummy account.

The benefit of a dummy account is the freedom to distribute an email address to contacts, Web sites, and Web services without the fear of cluttering a personal or professional email account with unwanted email.

Because webmail offers free accounts, there is no limit to the number of dummy accounts a user could have. Therefore, users could create a number of dummy accounts to serve various purposes. For example, one dummy account could receive all e-newsletters the user wishes to receive, while another may be used to register on Web sites that share the user's information with third parties. In this example, the user would likely check the e-newsletter account periodically to read the news, but would not ever need to check the Web site registration account other than to confirm a Web site registration.

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