Using bcc Instead of cc on Your Computer


The Santa Monica Star editor, Diane Margolin, knows me from my submissions of meeting announcements for the Los Angeles Computer Society, a non-profit organization of individuals who help each other with their computers. She asked me to provide suggestions to help with your day-to-day encounters with computers by discussing diverse subjects from email etiquette to how to fix that pesky problem that one might be experiencing since upgrading to Windows 10.

One of the ways that evil-doers acquire email addresses is through messages with many email addresses in the T or cc part of the message; in other words, mass mailings. Email addresses are often harvested using “sniffers.”

About 15 years ago, the general rate was $15 for 100,000 addresses. This is a major source of spam and worse (ransomware, hackers, etc.). If you must send a message to a large number of individuals who have not provided permission to share their addresses, please use bcc. Using bcc allows each recipient to view only the sender’s email address and his/her own address.

When one chooses a recipient, there will usually be a dropdown arrow next to the To allowing one to change the To to a cc: or to a bcc. There may also be other ways to choose To, cc, and bcc. And, as an important side benefit of using bcc, you are protecting the privacy of the recipients. Some or all of them may not want their private email addresses disseminated to strangers.

Another bit of related email etiquette is to avoid forwarding messages that others have sent with previous recipients’ addresses. Often, one receives a wonderful message with several previous recipients’ email addresses, either as From, To, or cc, and you want to share it with an additional 50 of your closest friends.

Again, it is unlikely that each sender has received permission from the previous senders to disseminate their email addresses, or permission from the many previous recipients of the message. To avoid passing on strangers’ addresses, copy the part of the message that you wish to forward into a new composition window and address it via To, cc, or better yet, bcc to those you want to receive the material you want to send.


By Mark Presky

Mark Presky is a director of the Los Angeles Computer Society.

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