For security and privacy online, do you really need more than one email account?
Some experts say having more than one can better safeguard your personal and financial information from sticky-fingered cybercriminals. You might have separate accounts for financial matters, family and friends, online shopping, newsletter subscriptions, and so on.
If you’re an online dater, add a separate email that can’t be traced to a primary email account in case your digital suitor turns out to be a stalker, says Tony Anscombe, chief security evangelist for the cybersecurity firm ESET. If things sour, he says, you can just delete the discrete account, and disappear.
Gmail is the highly popular, free email service from Google. A company spokesperson told AARP that while secondary email accounts have some benefits — such as helping people stay organized and protecting their privacy — they aren’t necessary.
“The most impactful thing users can do to protect their security online is to not reuse passwords, and enable two-step verification for their accounts,” the spokesperson added.
Some security pros agree that one email is adequate, but urge users to follow key safeguards.
- Use multi-factor authentication, which may include biometrics, to sign onto your account — or as Google suggested, two-step verification that may require you to enter a one-time authentication code sent by text or email in addition to your password. (Sometimes this is required only when signing on from an unrecognized computer device.)
- Have a strong, unique password to access your email account, and never use an identical password anyplace else. Remember to periodically change your passwords.
- Use a different sign-on name— not your email address — when you visit websites to browse, shop or pay bills, for example.
- Delete sketchy emails without opening them, and refuse to click links or open attachments within them.