Tip: Bcc Protects Private Email Addresses

Bcc = Blind Carbon Copy

Did you know that if you use the Bcc field in your email client to address and send an email to multiple users, the recipients will not see whom you sent the email to?

Many know this trick; however, I still find that many do not. When using the Bcc field to send your emails, the people receiving the email will not know who the other recipients are. It is not a trick of hidden magic. It is that the addresses of the other recipients are simply not shared.

I often receive forwarded chain emails; usually consisting of jokes, humorous movies, prayer requests, etc… Occasionally I will find one these emails humorous or important enough that I will pass it on; HOWEVER, prior to doing this I perform some housecleaning steps.

I will remove any “FWD” text (usually in the subject line) and will remove any email addresses I find in the body of the email that reflects the email addresses of recipients who have already received the email. After performing these housecleaning steps, I will enter into the the Bcc field, in my email client, the recipient’s email addresses, from my address book, to send (or forward) the email. If the email client requires at least one entry in the “To” field, I simply enter my own email address.

The benefits of using the Bcc field is simply this. You are protecting the privacy of other people. Currently I have approximately (5)-five email accounts that I use for specific purposes, from a variety of email services, with one of those accounts being my primary email account. I am very protective of that primary email account address and do not want it thrown about for the spammers to get hold of or for strangers to see. For example, I have found people’s email addresses in forwarded emails that I know and have not seen for years. They are very surprised when I contact them; and, will often ask, “How did you get my email?”. I explain that I simply pulled it from a forwarded email.

Be courteous to others and learn to use the Bcc field in your email; AND, when possible avoid chain emails all together.


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17 thoughts on “Tip: Bcc Protects Private Email Addresses

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  1. I learned this from parents at my school. they got quite upset with me for displaying their emails (this was five years ago). I’ve never forgotten. I wish I’d read something like this before I had the problem.


    1. WordDreams,

      Your parents must have been pretty savvy parents. Most people, even when reminded (and told) about this; continue to forward emails with the email address harvest enclosed. Thanks for your support and sharing your experience.



  2. I once received a copyright violation notice from Comcast (wifi WEP key was cracked and Nintendo Wii wasn’t playing nicely with WPA at the time) and they sent an e-mail out with everybody else caught that month in the To line of the e-mail. An entertaining yet embarrassing incident.

    Unfortunately using the BCC line also works for spammers. If I could see who else was receiving this spam, I might be able to figure out where they got my address from.

    Good article. I was thinking of writing something like this myself. I ended up just teaching my Dad to use the BCC field and I lost my main motivator for writing the article.


  3. Thanks for posting this article Rick. I have passed this tip on to my family members several times, simply because like you, I do not want my address sent to hundreds of people I don’t know. I truly do believe this should be common internet etiquette, but all too often people are unaware of the BCC feature and how easy it is to use for this purpose.



    1. KsTinMan,

      Thanks for the supportive comment. I agree, using BCC should be common etiquette; however, I find most people do not use it and do not understand it. We’ll keep trying though : )



  4. ah, its like i was reading exactly what i do with email. you are spot on with your comments. i have tried to change people to this way but they just ignore my suggestions. any thoughts on how to persuade them?


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