5 Reasons to Not Click Unsubscribe

Why clicking unsubscribe is not such a great idea.–PC Pitstop

5 Reasons to Not Click Unsubscribe

By Stu Sjouwerman, for KnowBe4.com Security Awareness Training

When you get on a mailing list you don’t want to be on, it’s easy to get off – just click on the “unsubscribe” link. But should you? Sophos Naked Security says maybe not. When you unsubscribe, you’re giving the organization that sent you the message information about yourself that you may not want them to have:

1. You have confirmed to the sender that your email address is both valid and in active use.

If the sender is unscrupulous then the volume of email you receive will most likely go up, not down. Worse, now that you have validated your address the spammer can sell it to his friends. So you are probably going to get phishing attacks from them too.

2. By responding to the email, you have positively confirmed that you have opened and read it and may be slightly interested in the subject matter, whether it’s getting money from a foreign prince, a penny stock tip or a diet supplement.

That’s wonderful information for the mailer and his pals.

3. If your response goes back via email – perhaps the process requires you to reply with the words “unsubscribe,” or the unsubscribe link in the message opens up an email window – then not only have you confirmed that your address is active, but your return email will leak information about your email software too.

Emails contain meta information, known as email headers, and you can tell what kind of email software somebody is using (and imply something about their computer) from the contents and arrangement of the headers.

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4 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Not Click Unsubscribe”

  1. I just add them to my this is spam program. Then go through it every few days to make sure there is nothing I want that found its way in there, then delete it all.

  2. I use full headers to send a complaint, along with copy of the unwanted email, to the sender’s ISP. I’ve seen a great reduction in my spam email to almost nothing.

  3. I’ve found that you do seem to reduce junk mail if you unsubscribe to many of them. Never eliminated them all and over time as you sign up for other stuff they build up a bit again but there does seem to be a positive effect.
    Maybe it’s good when you unsubscribe from legitimate services rather than spam type services. Just guessing but I will likely do it again.

    One US based unsubscribe thing makes you go to a site and you have to enter name information which totally sucks. But the US doesn’t like regulating anything, they’re just into bombing mainly.

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