You can create a separate email account for websites or services that request yours in exchange for activation, etc. Maintaining at least two accounts, one for more sensitive information such as personal correspondence and the management of your finances, and one for online purchases, apps, and subscriptions helps create a cleaner divide between your personal life and what’s accessible to both hackers and marketers like.
Taking this method one step further, you may want to consider using a different name, or set of names, for your online activity. This will allow you to figure out who is selling your email address. If your favorite fitness app knows you as “John Fitnessapp,” and you get a bunch of email at your John Fitnessapp email, that service is sharing your information. When the information sold is limited to a burner account, the potential loss of privacy is minimized.
This also makes it easier to filter mail coming to your personal account.
While maintaining a burner account is a simple solution and adds an effective buffer between your personal information and the world wide web, there are drawbacks. Maintaining and checking two separate email addresses is the main one, but it’s also important to bear in mind that you’re still at risk–the danger is simply quarantined in a less trusted silo.
A Killer App?
If using a burner account seems cumbersome, there are ways to simplify the process. One is offered by a company called Nullafi. The service creates burner email accounts that point to your personal email for every account you have online.
By creating aliases for your existing email account, you get the privacy and security protections of a separate email account without the hassle and administration headaches of adding another set of credentials to your personal and work devices.