Why You Shouldn’t Unsubscribe from Spam
Around 70% of the 250,400,000,000 emails sent this year are spam. Unsubscribing to spam is one of the worst things you can do to avoid getting more spam, and there’s plenty of literature online to support this.
So, how do you reduce spam if you can’t unsubscribe?
Well, there are different types of what you may categorize as spam.
If you sign up for a service from a legitimate company, they may send you marketing emails that you can easily unsubscribe from. You’ll usually find an “unsubscribe” link at the footer of the email, in accordance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. However, it’s always good to be safe with any unwanted email.
On the other hand, we receive many other spam emails that don’t abide by CAN-SPAM. These are the dangerous ones. You thought it would be nice to sign up for that petition or a coupon from a site. Later, you decide you don’t want their emails anymore. You tried unsubscribing. Again and again… but to no avail. Some people just accept their fate.
Why shouldn’t I unsubscribe?
The reasoning behind this is that spammers want the emails addresses of people who engage with their emails. If you try to unsubscribe from one of these spam emails, you’re signaling that you care about what’s in your inbox. You may be signing yourself up for email lists that companies (that you’ve never heard of) pay for.
The spammer’s main goal is to get information from you - financials, personal info, and passwords. Even a contact list is valuable to a spammer - if your account is hacked, they will use this to spam everyone you know from your account.
Unlike signing up for the Do Not Call list, where it’s easy to screen your calls, it’s harder to avoid the onslaught of weekly emails from unethical companies.
So what can I do?
- Obviously, never post your email address publicly! If you need to, use a disposable email address.
- Use a secondary email address when signing up for online services, and watch for “send me important updates/sign up for newsletter” checkboxes when doing so.
- Never interact with suspicious emails.
- Do some research - is the company reputable? Would you trust them with your home address?