Years ago, in an effort to help people de-clutter their inboxes, we used to encourage people to unsubscribe from junk email. Today, that’s not necessarily the best thing to do.
In many cases, unsubscribing simply validates your email address with the spammer. This can lead to you getting more junk mail from other sources as your email address is shared with other spammers. It can also redirect you to a compromised web-page which then opens you up to downloading viruses to your computer.
This isn’t to say that unsubscribing is completely unsafe, you simply have to be a bit more aware of the source of the email.
For example, unsubscribing from Network 1’s newsletter is a valid operation and is completely safe. Of course, I’m not sure why anyone would ever want to do such a thing?!?
On the other hand, unsubscribing from something such as what’s shown below, would in my opinion, be questionable.
Here is a screenshot of the tail end of an email that landed in my inbox and I have no idea how I got on their list. Even though there is a link at the bottom for me to click on to unsubscribe, I really don’t know where this might take me.
So, if unsubscribing isn’t as safe anymore, what should you do?
The best and safest way is to mark the email as spam within your email system. If you are using a business grade spam filtering service that sits in front of your email system such as Barracuda, AppRiver or Mimecast (to name a few), mark it as spam in there, and future messages will be filtered out before they even get to your inbox.
Should you find out later that they are either legitimate emails or that you now want the content, then you can simply mark them as safe and they will be delivered as normal.