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Unsubscribing caused me to get more spam and be targetted by more hackers

Be very careful of the ‘unsubscribe’ button

Be very careful clicking the “Unsubscribe” button/link – here’s why!


“Surprisingly, it isn’t safe to unsubscribe from spam emails this way — in fact, some scammers rely on your click to access even more of your information.  The method specifically designed to rid your inbox of junk has been weaponised to increase spam and other nasty digital threats!”

Clicking on the “unsubscribe” button in a spam email may be a bigger risk than you think. You might think that all you’re doing is unsubscribing from future emails, however email spam has increased 60% with this technique. Some scammers actually count on this in order to gain access to your personal and private information, so you need to be careful.

For example, when you click on the unsubscribe button or link you’ll likely receive a message saying that your information has been updated successfully, but then see an increase in future spam.  This is because you’ve just confirmed to spammers that your email exists and that you actively manage it.  Often, when you unsubscribe you immediately get another email from the same service using the exact same text, this could indicate that you have been unsubscribed from more than just what was stated in the message.

So it’s important to be very careful with the “unsubscribe” button – read any follow-up emails carefully and make sure they contain information regarding your initial request to be added or removed from a mailing list.

How Can You Stop Spam Emails Without an Unsubscribe Link?

Spammers get emails one of two ways: by stealing email addresses through websites where they are openly exposed, such as blogs, forums, websites, and social media, or by purchasing lists from other companies or hackers who steal them in some other way or even try to generate their own random lists using any number of different methods.

Spammers are unlikely to provide a genuine ‘unsubscribe’ link, so along with making their emails look real, they include ‘unsubscribe in the hope that you’ll click on it.  You’ll then either:

  1. Confirm your existence and encourage more spam
  2. Be directed to a site that downloads malware or other digital nastiest on your computer or phone
  3. Use techniques to gather further information, such as user name and password, banking credentials

You need to take action to protect yourself from SPAM.  These are sensible steps to take:

  • Mark the message as SPAM and block the sender. 
    • In Apple Mail, right-click the email and click ‘Block Contact’ then delete.
    • In Microsoft Outlook, right-click the email, select ‘Junk’, then select ‘Block Sender’ – then delete the message.
  • After reporting as spam and blocking the content, delete the message from your inbox and from your deleted folder.
  • Use a spam filter.  Spam filters are available in the form of software, hosted, or an on-premise appliance.  Spam filters work by viewing the email before it reaches you to see if the message contains spam or other digital nasties.  There are free and paid-for spam filters and as you would expect you get what you pay for.  If you are a business, invest in a good spam filter before you face the risk of ransomware attacks or other costly issues.  Here are some of the best spam filters available.

Do your research to find the best solution for your needs.

As with many threat based scenarios, the remedy is often better than the cure.  Most emails are scraped from the internet where your email is openly exposed.  It is therefore critical that you remove your email from websites, social media posts, and forums.  Use the sniff.email search tool to find where your emails are exposed on the internet.

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