Fax to email service for use about four or five times per month?

Hi Kevin,
I have been looking for a fax to email service for use about four or five times per month. I’ve heard that eFax requires customers to download its software. I did not see anything about this on your site, so I am wondering if it’s a scam, or if they are just baiting people to install something malicious? Thanks.

It is true that eFax has a free receive-only service that will send your faxes directly to your email. The company used to be very vocal in promoting it, but they seem to go out of their way to hide that service these days. But if you know where to look, you can still find it at www.efax.com/efax-free.

Of course, as with any free services, there are caveats. The service is pretty limited. You may receive up to 10 fax pages within any 30-day period. If you receive more than 10 fax pages in any 30-day period, the company “may offer to upgrade you to an eFax Pro or eFax Plus account or may terminate or suspend your eFax Free account with or without notice.” Basically, if you trip the 10-page wire, you’ve gotta upgrade to a paid account or lose the account altogether. But for extremely low volume users, it can work.

As for installing the software, that part is true as long as you only have the free account. The faxes will be emailed to you in an “.efx” format, which you can only open with the eFax Messenger software. (Don’t worry, it’s not malware.) If you upgrade to an eFax Plus account, you can change the format of the faxes you receive. But the monthly fee for that is $16.95, and that’s definitely not worth it if you’re only receiving four or five faxes a month.

Another option for receiving faxes for free is www.k7.net , which provides a number to send faxes (and optional voicemail, too) to your email box for free. It has sort of the opposite catch as eFax Free: if you use k7 too little, you can lose your fax number. According to the terms of service, if a k7 number doesn’t receive a fax or voicemail for 30 days, they will terminate the account. And if you don’t receive at least one fax or voicemail with 72 hours of activating the account, they will terminate the account. So send yourself a test fax as soon as you create the account.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.