Think You Should “Unsubscribe” From Spammer Emails? Think Again!: Cybersecurity Best Practices

Saw this article shared by someone I follow on Twitter and thought it had some great advice!  We all know people who probably hit “unsubscribe” when they get an email from a spammer, right?  Here’s why it’s not a good idea to do that. And, check out our dance below from yesterday’s Drinks with Doug and Mary event!

As discussed in this article in Lifehacker (Why You Should Never ‘Unsubscribe’ From Illicit Spam Emails and Texts, written by Mike Winters), the author notes that “Some of us can be a little too diligent when dealing with email or text spam—because whatever you do, you shouldn’t click ‘unsubscribe’ links or text ‘stop’ in reply, as they literally mean ‘subscribe’ and ‘please, go on’ to illicit spammers.”

There’s a difference between illicit spam sending you malware links and selling fake insurance rates, versus that newsletter you signed up for and may no longer want.  Spammers “blast out millions of texts or emails every day” and aren’t “targeting you specifically—in fact, they might not know if your email or phone number is even valid. They are looking for signs of an active account, however, as a valid email address or phone number is valuable for conducting further scams. By toggling “unsubscribe” or replying in any way, you validate your contact information and risk inviting even more spam.”


So, what should you do about them?  Simply mark the email as spam and delete it without opening it (or, if you do open it and determine it to be spam, certainly don’t click on any link or attachment).  Of course, many spammers use multiple email addresses, so you may have to keep marking them as spam, but it’s better than nothing.  The important thing to remember is don’t engage with the spammer in any way.

I had a pretty lengthy list of spam email addresses in my last job having marked numerous emails as spam over the years.  One downside to getting a new job with a new email address?  Having to build that list that all over again.  🙁

The article goes on to discuss some steps for how to avoid spam, which are clearly directed at people’s personal email accounts – not necessarily applicable for business email accounts, but certainly useful from a personal standpoint.  As for your business email account, hopefully your organization employs spam filters to block out at least some of the typical spam emails that you might receive.  Spammers are relentless.

BTW, if you missed the Fifth Annual Drinks with Doug and Mary yesterday which concluded EDRM’s Expocom, you not only missed a great networking event, you also missed this!  🙂

If the video is a bit shaky, it’s because I was laughing too hard!

So, what do you think?  Have you ever tried to “unsubscribe” to a spammer’s email?  How’d that work out for you?  😉   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the authors and speakers themselves, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.


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