A TIP To Protect Privacy (When sending email to multiple recipients, use “Bcc”.)

The article reflected below I have posted several times since its’ original posting (back in 2010). What prompted me to dust this off and bring it back out of the archives is that today I received a local government generated email to advise recipients of other government agencies of an impending snowstorm.  What caught my attention was that as this email was sent to a very large body of people.  I was able to see every name and email address to folks I am guessing would not want their email address and name made that public. As this email get’s forwarded, more and more email addresses will be revealed. To protect the privacy of others, it is best practice to use “Bcc” when sending email to multiple recipients.

Bcc = Blind Carbon Copy

Did you know that if you use the Bcc field in your email client to address and send an email or want to send a copy of 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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