Email tracking: How to protect yourself
In order to protect yourself from email tracking, firstly you need to know how it works. There are two most common ways to track an email. The first and most widely used method is pixel beacon. Here, a tracking application will attach a visible or invisible image with your email. After it reaches the destination email address and you open it, the tracking application can see your interaction with the email (whether you opened it or not). The second one is even more straightforward: you get a link. You click and let the tracker know you opened the email. Simple!
Now most of us are using some sort of webmail client. In case of that, your webmail client, whoever that might be i.e. yahoo mail, outlook, generally don't download all the images associated with the email before passing the email to you. Meaning pixel beacon can be automatically transferred to your email. Gmail is an exception here because it does not download the images in one go. So it doesn't allow the advertising network or even the tracking applications to track the email properly. But this was a couple years back. Most of the email clients now can stop & block suspicious content from ever entering the primary inbox.
So if you are not a pro, how do you try to prevent others from tracking your email interactions and activities? We have a few tips for you:
♦ Make sure you have the defaulted the 'disable automatic downloading of images' in email settings, and download images only from trusted senders.
♦ If imageless messages seem too boring, use a tool to block tracking.
♦ Using a VPN will help conceal your real IP address from advertisers. So your true ID will always be protected.