Outlook Best Practices -- Avoiding a BCC Disaster

You’ve all probably run into the problem where someone on an email BCC list uses Reply All and blows their cover. If you don’t have time to read the article linked below, it boils down to:

  • Limit the use of BCC whenever possible.
  • Only use BCC when you’re willing for it to become public knowledge
  • …or take some additional precaution to remove this possibility by forwarding a secondary copy of the email to the BCC list — either by BCC’ing yourself as suggested below, or by forwarding a copy of the email from your Sent Items folder.

How to avoid a BCC disaster

Email expert Itzy Sabo discusses the pitfall of blind carbon-copying (BCC) recipients on a message: the hidden addressee can reply to all the “non-blind” recipients and blow his or her cover.

If you are a BCC recipient of a message, when you Reply-to-All, people will wonder how you got involved, and will realize that the original sender blind-copied you. This can be rather embarrassing for the original sender, who deliberately tried to hide the fact that you were copied. Who knows what can of political worms you are opening by doing this!
Sabo suggests BCC’ing yourself on an email you’d like someone else to see, and then forwarding it on to them after the fact to avoid a reply to all faux pas. Personally I use the BCC line on email messages VERY sparingly to avoid any screw-ups along these lines.

“Reply-to-All” Exposes Blind Co-conspirators [Email Overloaded]