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Hundreds of Email Addresses in One Account: An Incredible Gmail Feature You Didn't Know About

One Gmail, one address. This seems right. After all, you have one phone number and one home address. The same should be true for your email addresses. However, your Gmail account has an unlimited number of addresses that you can use at any time, fooling everyone from Netflix to spammers. Lifehacker.

Photo: IStock

In fact, there are several methods here. You can turn your single Gmail address into an infinite number of addresses with a tactic called plus addressing. To use plus addressing, you simply type a plus (+) after the local part (the name before the @), and then type whatever you want.

For example, your Gmail address is jake@gmail.com, you can enter jake+lifehacker@gmail.com or jake+gomedia@gmail.com. The service you're using this email with will think it's a brand new address, but any emails to that address will still go to your inbox. This works for any Gmail address, even if the domain is not gmail.com.

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On the one hand, this is a great way to figure out where your spam emails are coming from. You can get in the habit of applying the appropriate plus address to any service you subscribe to. For example, you can use your name before @+facebook@gmail.com when registering with Facebook or your name before @+hulu@gmail.com when creating a Hulu account. Then you would check the spam message in your mailbox and see that it came from "your name before @+facebook@gmail.com", you would know in this way that Facebook passes your address to third parties who send you spam, if you didn't share your name before @+facebook with another service.

On the other hand, it's the perfect temporary email factory for free trials. Forget about creating a new Gmail account every time you want to watch a show for free. Just add a new plus address to your current account and start a new trial. Using your name before @+thanksforthefreecontent@gmail.com and your name before @+roundtwobuckaroo@gmail.com will work just fine.

Of course, if the service requires a unique credit card for each new trial, this presents a new problem.

And you can add not only pluses. Dots will also work. You can write e.g. j.ake@gmail.com, ja.ke@gmail.com, jake@gmail.com - any combination you can think of, separating your name with dots.

However, if for some reason the service you're subscribing to isn't accepting your plus address, there's another trick you can try with Gmail. This time, all you need to do is change the "gmail" part of your address to "googlemail" (for example, jake@googlemail.com, not jake@gmail.com). Just like alternate addressing, using googlemail instead of gmail makes the service think you're using a brand new address, but all incoming googlemail emails will go to your regular gmail inbox.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

Also, addressing isn't the only way to protect your Gmail address from spam and scammers. You can turn to DuckDuckGo's or Apple's "Hide My Email" services to create "write-in" accounts when signing up for new services you don't trust. Like secondary addressing, these account accounts will forward all incoming messages to your primary Gmail address, but the advantage here is that you never reveal your actual Gmail address in the process. Using e.g. jake+hello@gmail.com works great, but it still exposes your local part to the service you're subscribing to. Recording accounts provide even more privacy.

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