There are some occasions in life when you need to alert people about something but want to keep your identity hidden. This could be whistleblowing on the company you work for if you discover wrongdoing, tipping off the police about crimes, communicating with people living under oppressive regimes or any number of other scenarios.

Being able to send an email anonymously is the safest way to ensure that you don’t get dragged into the middle of potentially dangerous situation. So, how can you do that? We show you a few ways to stay secret when sending messages.

Send anonymous emails from a fake account

It might seem obvious, but one of the easiest ways to send an anonymous email is to create and post it from a fake email account. Actually, fake is perhaps the wrong term here. You can sign up to most online email providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Zoho, Hotmail and others, providing made-up information. This account can then be used to send messages to other people without an easy way of them being traced back to you.

Just make sure that when you’re setting up the account you don’t give a phone number, usernames that you’ve used elsewhere or other information (such as a recovery email address) that could lead back to your real-life.

For added security you should also consider using a VPN to prevent the ISP address of your home or work network being stored on the email providers servers. Take a look at our guide to the best free email services as well as our roundup of VPNs for some fine options.

Use a secure email provider

If you need a little more security, you can try one of the several privacy-focussed email services available. Some of our favourites are Tutanota and Protonmail, but you’ll find several other offerings in our guide to the best encrypted email providers.

The thing that all of these have in common is that they require no personal information to create an account, everything you send is encrypted (so not even the company itself can read your emails), and the IP addresses for sent and received emails are all removed. This combination makes it an excellent, but still convenient way, to use the services anonymously.

How to send anonymous emails: Tutanota

Send anonymous emails from disposable accounts

Those wanting to leave as little trace as possible can use a temporary, disposable account to send one-off emails. Services like Guerillamail make this easy to do, as you just go to the site, select the Compose tab and type in your message. If you want, there’s the option to attach documents and files up to a maximum size 150MB.

How to send anonymous email: Guerillamail

Although the account remains active once it’s created, all emails are deleted after an hour and any attachments only survive for 24 hours. One thing to know, as there is no password or login details for the account, anyone who knows the address can visit Guerillamail and access it, hence the short period that the contents remain on the site.

It’s worth bearing this in mind if you want to receive replies, as the account could be compromised if someone discovers the address. That’s why it’s best for sending one-off messages or tips, then walking away. Again, use a VPN while accessing the site for added security.