Why You Should Never Reply to Spam, Even to Unsubscribe

At times you may wonder why you always get spam emails while your buddy Steve, who doesn’t even take the time to unsubscribe from spam emails, is living his life seemingly without headaches from spam. ? The answer isn’t that Steve just got lucky; it’s something you may be doing too much to avoid.

If you’ve ever replied “STOP” to a spam text message or unsubscribed from a spam email, you’ve fallen for the bait. Scammers rarely target specific people because it takes too long. A more effective way to collect victims is the good old “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” method. If you reply to these messages, you will stick to the wall and look like a tender, delightful target.

Yes, in some cases, unsubscribing or texting “STOP” to legitimate sources will save you the mess and notifications of your life, but if it’s a scam, they just check if your contact information is valid.

Scammers always seem to think ahead and know that people are suspicious of potential scams; they play on that fear to trap you. The new technique they are introducing is in the form of “Wasn’t that you? Click here to unsubscribe” via text messages or emails. But the link doesn’t cancel you, it just lets them know that you’re hot noodles stuck to the wall.

Best practics

Just ask Steve for advice: when invited to a Twitter group chat with hundreds of other entrepreneurs planning how to invest in the latest cryptocurrency before it hits the moon, he simply tags the group on Twitter and leaves. When he receives a text message from PayPal thanking him for signing up with a link: “Not you? Click here.” He forwards the number and text to 7726 to inform his carrier and blocks it. When he receives an email about a Nigerian prince, he simply marks it as “spam” and deletes it.

The same logic can be applied to interacting with Instagram bots, responding to spammers, or responding to calls to “troll” spammers and waste their precious time (there’s a whole subreddit dedicated to art).

Be like Steve. Just block, delete and ignore.


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