Using the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) Feature to Protect the Privacy of Email Addresses

Overview

For security and privacy reasons, it is best to use the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) feature when sending an email message to a large number of people.  When you place email addresses in the BCC: field of a message, those addresses are invisible to the recipients of the email.  Conversely, any email addresses that you place in the TO: field or the CC: field are visible to everyone who receives the message.  Keep in mind that many people do not want their email address to be distributed to people they do not know.  For this reason, you should use the BCC: field when sending a message to a large group.  Each recipient will receive his or her own copy of the message, but the email addresses of the other recipients will be shielded from view.

  
In addition, using the BCC: field to conceal email addresses acts as an anti-spam measure.  If you use the TO: field or the CC: field to send a message to a large group, it becomes more likely that the recipients will receive unwanted email.  This could occur because recipients use the “Reply to All” feature to respond to your message.  A second scenario that could create unwanted email involves spam programs that are designed to send spam to addresses found in the TO: and CC: fields of messages.  The BCC: field protects against these scenarios.
Note:  Make certain to type your own address in the TO: field after you have listed your recipients in the BCC: field.

Benefits

Using the BCC: field to send an email message to a large group of people has a number of benefits, including:

1.  The privacy of email addresses is protected in the original message. The recipients will receive a copy of your message, but they will not be able to see the addresses of the recipients listed in the BCC: field.

2.  The privacy of email addresses is protected if the message is forwarded. When an email message is forwarded, the addresses of everyone in the TO: field and the CC: field are also forwarded along with the message.  Addresses that have been placed in the BCC: field are not forwarded. 

3.  If a recipient uses the “Reply to All” option, the reply will not be sent to those individuals in the BCC: field. Occasionally an email recipient may respond to a message using the “Reply to All” feature.  If you have placed a large list of recipients in the TO: or CC: field, all of them will receive the reply.  This can be an annoyance to other recipients, particularly if the reply is not relevant to them or was intended only for the original sender.  By placing recipients in the BCC: field, you can help protect them against receiving unnecessary replies.

4.  Using the BCC: field acts as an anti-spam precaution. Many viruses and spam programs are now able to sift through mail files and address books for email addresses.  Using the BCC: field is an effective anti-spam precaution because it reduces the likelihood that recipients will receive a spam message or a virus from another recipient’s infected computer.

Using the BCC: Field

The following section explains how to use the BCC feature with Microsoft Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, and Mozilla Thunderbird.

Outlook 2007

1.  Launch Outlook.  From the Outlook toolbar, click New and select Mail Message.
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2.  A new message window will appear.  From the Ribbon, click the Options tab and select Show Bcc.  The BCC: field will now display in your message header.
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3.  In the BCC:field, type the email addresses of your recipients. Type your own address in the TO: field.
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4.  After you have finished your message, click Send.

Outlook 2010

1.  Launch Outlook.  From the Outlook ribbon make sure the Home tab is selected and click New E-mail.

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2.  A new message window will appear.  From the Ribbon, click the Options tab and select Bcc.  The BCC: field will now display in your message header.

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3.  In the BCC:field, type the email addresses of your recipients. Type your own address in the TO: field.

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4.  After you have finished your message, click Send.

Thunderbird

1.  Launch Thunderbird.  Click the Write button in the toolbar. 

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2.  A new message window will appear.  Enter one email address (usually your own) in the TO: field.  Move to the next row and select BCC: from the drop-down menu.

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3.  In the BCC:field, type the email addresses of your recipients.  Type your own address in the TO: field

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4.  After you have finished your message, click Send.

Entourage 2008

1.  Launch Entourage and select New to create a new mail message.
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2.  The address portion of the message will appear and the BCC: field will display by default.  In the BCC:field, type the email addresses of your recipients.  Type your own address in the TO: field.  Click outside the address window to continue.
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3.  Complete the remaining fields of your email message.
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4.  After you have finished your message, click Send.

Mac Mail

1.  Launch the built-in Macintosh email client and select New to create a new mail message.
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2.  The New Message window will display.  Click the drop-down arrow located to the left of the Subject field and select Bcc Address Field.  The BCC: field will now display in your message header.  
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3.  In the BCC:field, type the email addresses of your recipients. Type your own address in the TO: field.
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4.  After you have finished your message, click Send.

Tags: My Pitt Email Exchange Help Sheet Outlook Privacy Email Thunderbird Entourage Mac Mail