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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013

Think twice before clicking "Unsubscribe me"

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


You get emails from all kinds of businesses. They all seem to have an unsubscribe link. But should you actually click on that link?

The answer depends on who you get it from. If it is from a legit organization you do business with, it's OK. But if it's from an unfamiliar business, do *not* click on it.

If you click on an unsubscribe link in an email from an unfamiliar business, suddenly your inbox blows up with more email from the spammers. It's as if you're telling the crooks, "Hey, I'm a real person and you have a legit email address!"

So before you say, "Unsubscribe me!," consider this instead: David Lazarus of The Los Angeles Times  says the better option may be reporting it as spam. Over time, that sender will be blocked by your email provider.

His advice also speaks to why legit organizations make it so easy for you to unsubscribe with their prominent unsubscribe links. They don't want you to put them in a penalty box by marking them as spam when you should in fact be unsubscribing.

I remember years ago when AOL was a big email service provider and my free newsletters were treated as spam. We went through cartwheels trying to get people unblocked. AOL was using a meat clever instead of a scalpel to decide what was real mail and what was spam. So I've been on the other side of this with people who wanted my newsletter *not* being able to receive it.

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