I want to give someone my email address but make sure they cannot get my
home address or telephone number. How can I guarantee this? In other words can
someone find my home address or telephone number by knowing my email
The short answer is that no, they cannot.
The longer answer is that no, they cannot, unless you’ve been careless.
Let me explain.
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The details of why it doesn’t work depend on just exactly where you got your
email address. If you got it from a free email service like Hotmail or Gmail or
the like, then you never provided your home address or phone so it’s not even kept
with your email information. There’s just no way to associate your email
address with a physical address or phone.
If your email is provided by your ISP (as the original questioner’s appeared
to be) then your ISP naturally knows your address and phone number, but they
will not divulge that information to just anyone. As I’ve said many times
before, ISPs will only provide the information related to email or IP addresses
in response to legal action or a court order.
important to maintaining your privacy.”
So at the root of the email system, you are protected by your email service
provider: either because they simply don’t know, or because their privacy
policy protects you.
So what’s this part about being careless?
Well, to use an extreme example, let’s say you posted your email address,
phone number, and home address on a web page. That could easily be found by
someone. It’s extreme, but it’s an example to show that what you do
with your information is critically important to maintaining your privacy.
Let’s use a different example. Let’s say you sign up for a web service of
some sort and they require an email address, a physical address, and a phone
number. Do you trust that service?
Most on-line merchants need to collect this information to process
transactions you might have with them. You’re now relying on the integrity of
that merchant to protect you. If, on the other hand, you hand over your
information to a less-than-reputable site, then you might not only make the
association between your email address and other information public, you might
also end up setting yourself up for identity theft or worse.
The real bottom line is that what you do with your information will
ultimately control how easy it is for others to find. Share it only with those