A virtual email address is a temporary email address you can create and give out to vendors, newsletter systems and so forth so that you don't have to release your real email address. The main purpose of virtual addresses is to ensure that email from legitimate senders of automated email (i.e., senders whom you can't realistically whitelist in advance, such as online vendors and newsletters) will get to your inbox without your having to search for them. Depending on how you create and give out your virtual addresses, you can also tell who is responsible for passing your address on to a spammer. Once a virtual email address has been compromised (i.e. you start getting spam through that address), you can simply throw it away and create a new one with a different name.

If you are using a separate virtual email address for each of your vendors and/or mailing lists, then you only need to contact that one entity to change your address. If you are sharing virtual email addresses among multiple entities, then you will need to contact all of them. This is the main reason you may wish to buy a larger number of virtual email addresses.

You can use virtual email addresses with retail versions ChoiceMail 2.5 or greater.

There are some reasonable restrictions on virtual email addresses. Virtual email addresses are intended to allow things like receipts and notification from vendors, text postings from newsgroups and so forth. They are not intended to be used to receive large attachments such as documents and photographs. The actual size of messages allowed through virtual email is therefore limited to prevent abuse of the virtual email address feature.