Why You Shouldn't "Unsubscribe" From Spam

Home Forums Web & Social Media – Latest Online Tips & Tools Why You Shouldn't "Unsubscribe" From Spam

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #608110

    Why You Shouldn’t “Unsubscribe” From Spam

    Spam accounts for an estimated 80 percent of all email traffic in the United States

    By Lisa Parker

    | Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 |

    NBC Chicago’s Lisa Parker offers this first-person cautionary tale about why you shouldn’t use the “unsubscribe” link often included in Spam email.

    “Don’t unsubscribe…Never ever, ” said Steve Filipiak.

    He should know. He did it and now regrets it.

    “I was so frustrated that for the first name I put [expletive] and the second name I put “You,” he recalled.

    So was he unsubscribed? Quite the opposite.

    “And the next day I got email, Dear [Expletive] You.”

    “Oh thousands! Yeah, they were just coming in. You could watch them pop in one after the other,” he said.

    For this report, we interviewed an expert who knows all about the guys on the other side of the spam emails. Marc Maiffret is a former hacker who was once profiled on reality TV for his years as a teenage hacker. These days he works for the other side as a security consultant, and tells his clients never to click unsubscribe if they do not know the sender.

    Worse, said Maiffret:

    “In reality, that’s usually an indicator to increase the level of things they send to you. We even see when you click unsubscribe, it’ll take you to a website and the website will actually try and attack against your computer,” he explained.

    For example, in some cases much of the advertisement itself is in one large image. That makes it harder for a spam filter to process. We also saw examples of long passages of text hidden under a white screen, legitimate words you might see in an email that designed to pass a spam filter.

    All of this is a predatory twist to the “unsubscribe” feature that was supposed to help consumers. The federal CAN SPAM Act mandates marketers offer a way out of unwanted emails. A law legitimate companies take seriously, but not the fly-by-nighters.

    “Don’t hit unsubscribe if you don’t know who it’s from,” advised Chicago-Kent Law Dean Harold Krent, a privacy expert. “[The spammers] don’t know there’s an active being behind that email until you respond in some fashion. Once you do, it’s ripe for the selling.”

    By trying to get off the lists, we unsubscribers just get in deeper.

    “I learned my lesson,” said Filipiak. “Clicking unsubscribe just ratcheted up another notch.”


    There’s a special place in Ghennom for spammers…


    Keep in mind, there is a difference between “spam” from known companies which have your email (e.g. Staples, Amazon etc.) and the random unknown unsolicited emails.

    The article is NOT telling you NOT to unsubscribe from the known companies


    There might also be a difference between unsubscribing by hitting unsubscribe, or having to punch in your e-mail address in order to unsubscribe. I keep getting SPAM from really unmentionable sites, and I now just delete, whereas I used to try to just unsubscribe.


    oomis- it’s actually the clicking on the unsubscribe (or any other) link in the email that is traced. So even unsubscribing and not entering an email address is a bad idea.

    If someone gets a bunch of spam on the same product, eg free cigars, its simple to put up a filter through your email program that will automatically delete emails containing the phrase ‘free cigars’. Another point, if you have the option of labeling spam vs deleting, if you label it spam, your email will learn to identify those an similar emails as spam and keep them out of your inbox.


    whats the reason behind anyone being a teenage spammer?


    This topic is spam. Please unsubscribe me.


    pba- snort


    It doesn’t really help much to record the addresses as spam. They always use a different address or a fake address. The best option is a spam detector, hosted by your email provider, that is constantly on the watch.

    With my email provider, I email them the spam email so that they analyze it to tweak their detection.


    I don’t get spam, because it all goes into my spam folder. Unfortunately, lots of regular emails also go into my spam folder, and I have to constantly check it to make sure I don’t miss anything.

    YW Moderator-42

    Haleivi, hitting the “mark as spam” button in most email clients will probably do that for you. It will submit the email to them for analysis.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.