Unwanted emails

We get a lot of questions about how to deal with unwanted emails and asking is it OK to click on the "unsubscribe" link?

Some emails are genuine direct marketing. The sender probably has purchased a list of emails of a target market into which you fall e.g. managers of hotels, people who are due for insurance renewals, people who bought a car 2 years ago and may be looking to replace. These are often annoying but occasionally useful. These are generally distributed by bona-fide organisations and will have an "unsubscribe" link to enable you to be removed from their list. If you can trust the source then do this.

Other emails are just phishing. These have collected your email address, sometimes via malware which has got onto one of your colleagues, partners, suppliers, friends PCs. These just want you to open an attachment or click on a link. The links, especially unsubscribe links, may actually be the payload and take you to a web page that infects your computer.

So be very careful about clicking on any links in an email.  Of course you should have some kind of anti-virus, anti-malware security installed on your computer to protect against that. Microsoft Security Essentials or MS Defender are free with Win 7/8. Won't protect you 100% but at least helps. if you're a larger organisation you should be protected with a network-wide product like Sophos.

If the emails are from the same source you can use rules in your email client to automatically move them into Junk or delete them. (In Outlook right click usually gives this option).

Alternatively, and if you have any doubts, it only takes half a second to delete the offending email and you don't have to open and read it!


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