So, you want to use e-mail but you also want to stay anonymous when needed. The easiest way to hide is to use one of the free mail servers. These servers will give you additional e-mail address that has nothing to do with your real one. For eg get a free mail account. There're at least two reasons to get some free e-mail accounts: 1. You don't want to be identified; 2. You don't like SPAM. You can also use them to get some nice looking address and set forwarding option on Smile
You already know from previous paragraphs that e-mail can be traced back to the sender's IP. Note that checking your mail using POP/IMAP protocols will also leaves your IP in server logs. The same rule is applied even if you're using web-mail. Most of the servers will add some headers with your IP address and sometimes the account name will be also added. If you don't want this to happen you should use web-mail only via anonymous proxy server or use either SocksCap or HTTPort. If you forward messages from one account to another (for example from "altavista email" or "beer.com" to your real e-mail) you can also encounter some problems with your anonymity. Some examples are listed below:
1. Your own mailer immediately reacts on receiving letters with X-Confirm-Reading-To header. In this case (common enough) reading confirmation message will be composed and sent. And the "From:" field will be filled with your real name and e-mail address ... You can avoid such situation by disabling automatic reply to the confirmation requests. For example in the popular e-mail program "The Bat!" you'll need to select "Account" -> "Properties", then expand "Templates", select "Reading confirmation" and check the "Prompt before the Action" box.
2. The message has Return- Receipt -To: (non-standard) or Generate- Delivery- Report: (RFC-1327) headers that make the target server to compose delivery confirmation and return it to the sender. In this case your real address will be disclosed and you have no option to prevent this.
3. There was a problem delivering the message to your mailbox. In this case you also can't block delivery failure report that will be generated by forwarding server and mailed to the sender.
As you can see from above the web-mail is better than forwarding if you want to stay anonymous.
SPAM is another problem everyone is faced with sooner or later. Even if you know REMOVE trick (sending letters to newsgroups with me@REMOVE.domain
address where all words are real except the REMOVE:) your address will become the target for spammers some day. Most of free e-mail servers have the option to block "junk e-mail" automatically or by adding sender to the block-list. If your own e-mail program lacks filtering or sorting rules you can use these features to get rid of incoming SPAM. But remember that automatic blocking is usually based on the following rules: it can block all letters that have no your address in "To:" field; it can block letters sent via well-known open relays (you can check whether some server is registered as open relay or not with ORelay tool); it can block letters with some "signal words" inside; etc. It's not a complete protection from SPAM but you may want to try it. Anyway who hinders you to get another free address ? Smile