Try This Simple Gmail Hack to See Who is Selling Your Email Address


The truth is out there. Here’s how to find it.

Photo by Rubaitul Azad on Unsplash

Have you ever received an email from a company or service that you didn’t sign up for? Of course you have. We all have.

Unfortunately, the reason we get unsolicited emails is a by-product of the way the internet works these days. Companies that you trust with your personal information are selling it to the highest bidder.

It’s frustrating, but if you’re a Gmail user, it’s easy to find out who’s to blame. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Use Gmail Aliases

Gmail has a built-in option to pull back the curtain on exactly who is selling your personal information. It’s called an alias. It lets you create additional email addresses that will deliver messages to your primary Gmail inbox. When used correctly, you can use an alias to see who is guilty of sharing your email with third-party companies. Here’s how it works.

If your email address is [email protected], all you need to do is add a plus sign and some keywords before the “” domain. For instance, if you think that Facebook is giving away your email address, change your Facebook email address to [email protected].

Because Gmail ignores the +facebook part of this email address, you will still get all the Facebook emails that you got before. However, if Facebook decides to sell your email address to a third-party company, those unsolicited emails will be sent from [email protected], which will let you know that Facebook was the one that sent them your way.

This trick also works when you sign up for new online services. For example, if you are signing up for TikTok for the first time, you can use [email protected] as your email address. If unrelated emails arrive from that email address, you will know why.

Does User Privacy Still Exist?

Using a Gmail alias won’t prevent you from getting unsolicited emails. All it does is tell you who is responsible for selling your personal information. Furthermore, whether you realize it or not, you may already have given permission for companies to do the very thing that irks you.

Every time you sign up for a new online service, you agree to its terms and conditions. Few people actually read them, but they often include a privacy policy that states that by using their service, you are granting permission for them to share your information with third-party companies.

However, if you are debating whether or not to keep using a given service, an alias can help with that decision. Similarly, if you no longer use the company that sold your email address, you can add up a rule to filter emails from that email address and send them straight to your Spam folder.

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