Don’t Get Hooked Unsubscribing

Clicking the ‘Unsubscribe” button in a harmless looking spam email brings a new level of security threat. Phishers have come up with a way to take advantage of us by combining our curiosity and frustration with spam emails. It’s created a new cyber gnat determined to get your valuable information. Always looking to take advantage of human nature, cyberthieves have a variety of tried and true scams at their fingertips. It’s time to think twice before hastily unsubscribing to spam emails.

One effective tactic has information phishers sending a phony but legitimate looking spam email from your bank. It claims you owe a negligible amount for an obscure bank fee. To avoid any future charges to your account, you’re instructed to simply click the “Unsubscribe” button and all future fees will be removed. Surprise! It’s a fake button redirecting you to a bogus bank web page. Maybe it’s a combination of a legitimate looking website and the desire to put this annoying little financial fiasco behind you…but you cave. Never would you suspect that you just unleashed malware on your device and put your sensitive info up for grabs with one little click.

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a US non-profit news website provides identity theft education and information to consumers. The ITRC states “Phishing attempts are another form of spam email that tries to entice you or coerce you into complying with the scammer’s intentions.” The organization suggests a few ways to reduce the risk of your information getting into the wrong hands.

-Delete the email without opening it. Opening spam alerts the sender to you being an active reader, possibly increasing their spam efforts.

-Mark it as spam. It alerts your email provider to the sender and IP address as unsolicited, blocking the sender from future email spam. Usually there is an icon somewhere in your email client to click to accomplish this.

-Actively report the spammers directly to the email service provider being used and/or report the scam to the company he or she claims to be representing.

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