It’s tax season. Yay, right? This time of year people are shuffling all kinds of documents around, and I know lots of people who don’t think twice about emailing documents with social security numbers and other sensitive personal information.

I’m just not cool with emailing stuff like that. I know that any files I send by email will probably exist forever and be stored on servers that may or may not always be secure. And who knows how good the recipient’s email password is.

Fortunately, there’s a pretty decent alternative to email attachments thanks to the good folks who make Dropbox.

If you absolutely need to send sensitive documents electronically and loathe fax machines as much as me, try this instead:

  1. Zip your files
  2. Put the zip file in your Dropbox ‘Public’ folder
  3. Email the file link, not the file

The recipient will have no problem downloading the file, and once he or she has done that, you can remove the file from your Public folder, effectively breaking the link. For added security, you could give the file an unguessable name. But the most important thing is that the file is never stored in email.

It’s just another one of Dropbox’s seemingly infinite practical uses, and I love it.

Update: Merlin loves it, too. And he's got a big ole fun bag of geekery to make the process even more securer-er. Er something like that.