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Tech Q&A: How to conceal your contact list when sending a group e-mail

Associated Press

April 27, 2015


Q: I’m switching e-mail addresses from ATT.net to Gmail.com, and I’d like to tell all my contacts with one e-mail. Is there a way to do it without revealing my entire contact list to every recipient of the e-mail?

Also, is there a way I can have ATT.net forward my mail to Gmail for a period of time after I terminate the AT&T account?

A: ATT.net e-mail is run by Yahoo, which makes it easy to send a single e-mail to a list of people without revealing the list to the recipients.

It works by putting just one e-mail address in the "TO" box of the e-mail, and putting the rest of the e-mail addresses in the "BCC" (blind carbon copy) box. Everyone will receive the same e-mail, but each person will be able to see only the single address in the TO box.)

An even better alternative is to put your own e-mail address in the TO box, while putting all the recipients’ addresses in the BCC box. That way, you’ll get the main e-mail, and your contacts will all get copies. While your contacts may question why they got an e-mail addressed to you, you can explain in the message that it was done to protect everyone’s privacy.

This e-mail process is easy because you don’t have to type all the recipients’ addresses into the BCC box. Go to the ATT.net contact list, and check the BCC box next to each e-mail address you want included in the group e-mail. For details, see tinyurl.com/ld34eda.

If you’d like to create a special contact list that includes only the people you want to reach with this particular e-mail, see tinyurl.com/kzmrf62.

Once you’ve closed your ATT.net account, it won’t forward anymore. So leave it open for a few months and set it to forward all mail to your new Gmail account. That way you won’t lose contact with the people who fail to note your new e-mail address. To set up ATT.net forwarding to Gmail, see tinyurl.com/mm4sj3c.

Q: When I try to download important forms on my Windows 7 PC, I usually receive the message "Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded." How can I adjust my security settings so that I can download these harmless files?

Will Sonnier, Donaldsonville, La.

A: Many people have received this error message, which is caused by an overly restrictive security setting in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser. Once you change the setting, you’ll no longer be blocked from downloading and opening the files. Find the settings list in Internet Explorer, go to Tools and choose Internet Options. Then click the Security tab and the button labeled Custom Level.

However, some experts debate which setting to change. Some say you should enable the "downloads" setting without restrictions (see tinyurl.com/q7dnx8y.) Others say it’s safer to change the "launching applications and unsafe files" setting so you’ll be asked for permission about each questionable download (see tinyurl.com/qx38htr.)