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Spam and unsubbing

  1. Apr 10, 2017 #1

    DaveC426913

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    I slipped up somewhere.
    I have two emails, one public, one only for trusted friends.

    My public one is rife with spam. That's OK. That's what it's for.

    My private one has been virtually free - until a friend sent me an e-card, using my private email. I could have handled it better, but the upshot is that now I am being spammed on my private account.

    My question is:
    Is there a way to deal with the spam?
    Does unsubscribing work? Or does that just cause them to sell my eddress to even more places?

    My webhost has a blacklist option for its webmail, but I'm not sure if it actually prevents those emails from reaching my mail client (Thunderbird).

    Thunderbird is thoughtful enough to label them with [SPAM], but does not junk them. I guess I need to set up a rule to run automatically (but that means I will never even see the false positives. And I do get false positives.)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2017 #2

    jedishrfu

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    Depends on the site, some,are reputable and take you off the list. Others may do it too but have already sold your email elsewhere. Then there's the bad ones who realize they have a live one here.

    Time to get a new friend and a new account.
     
  4. Apr 11, 2017 #3

    Borg

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    I agree that there isn't much you can do other than set up aggressive filters. Even 'reputable' companies can be slow to remove your email address. I once had a discount card with Best Buy and they started spamming me with offers even though I was supposedly removed from their email list. I spoke with supervisors on the phone and even went to the stores to get them to stop. The closest explaination that I got was that they didn't consider those emails to be 'offers' but instead, they considered them to be informational (like if my account was compromised). Nothing worked until I finally canceled my account and insisted that they remove my email address from the account first.
     
  5. Apr 11, 2017 #4

    f95toli

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    Unsubscribe SHOULD work if the e-mail is coming from a reputable company based in Europe/US. There are actually strict regulations governing how and to whom companies can send out e-mails. They will of course try to "trick" you to sign up to e-mail lists, but the regulations are nevertheless there and a company can -at least in theory- get into serious trouble (very large fines) if the unsubscribe button is not working (or -even worse- it is not even possible to unsubscribe).
    The regulations are -from what I understand- very similar in most of the western world, although how strictly they are enforced does vary from country to country.

    There are also various caveats. The regulations are different for "information" and "marketing". Companies are allowed to send out "necessary information" to a customer even if said customer have said no to marketing e-mails. The rules surrounding what is "information" and "marketing" are also not entirely clear.

    (disclaimer: this is all second hand information; basically things I've learned throughout the years from my wife who works in e-coms)
     
  6. Apr 11, 2017 #5

    Borg

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    That was the problem with Best Buy. What they claimed to be 'necessary information' was information that they felt was necessary to inform me of credit card offers and sales. Their email opt-out was worthless.
     
  7. Apr 11, 2017 #6

    f95toli

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    I'm not sure what the regulations are like in the US, but in Europe (EU) that would now have been illegal (this is now part of a law that I think is called something like GDPR which was introduced in 2016).
    My wife works for a bank and she frequently has do deal with people from their marketing team who insist that their e-mail is "information" when it is really just an offer of some sort (examples of real information from a bank would e.g. be an e-mail saying that terms and conditions for your account has changed). Not everyone understands the rules.
     
  8. Apr 11, 2017 #7
    Always unsubscribe.
    The bad guys will sell your email address anyway.
    The lazy guys will remove you, eventually.
    The good guys will remove you promptly.
     
  9. Apr 11, 2017 #8

    jedishrfu

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    The point of not unsubscribing is that your email is worth less to the spammer because they don't know if it's active or not.
     
  10. Apr 11, 2017 #9

    jedishrfu

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  11. Apr 12, 2017 #10

    Borg

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    This is bad advice. As jedishrfu noted, for the bad guys, you are confirming that the address is active. That is valuable information that they will take advantage of.
     
  12. Apr 12, 2017 #11

    f95toli

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    But again, if it is a reputable company (as opposed to just generic spam) unsubscribing should result in you being removed from their e-mail list.
    Hence, use common sense.
     
  13. Apr 12, 2017 #12

    Borg

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    Yes, this is what I meant. If you trust the email after verifying its authenticity, then its reasonable to unsubscribe if you want. A disreputable company won't hesitate to use your information or worse, send you to a virus website when you click on their 'unsubscribe' link.
     
  14. Apr 12, 2017 #13
    I really gave it some thought before I responded initially. There are three reasons why I suggest unsubscribing:

    1 - People who sell lists of email addresses could say "these accounts all tried to unsubscribe" but in a business that is inherently unethical, an unverifiable claim has no merit. They are far better off testing the accounts in bulk via their respective postmasters and getting rid of those that come back invalid - a very quick process that allows them to reliably state that "these accounts are all valid" - which will be validated by the people buying the lists.

    2 - The people who sell email lists may not be the people spamming you, and not all spammers will bother to offer to let you unsubscribe. A lot of spam works by getting a response to the spam - they ignore the people who aren't interested and focus on the ones who are.

    3 - A lot of legitimate companies do direct marketing via email - "legitimate" spam, if you will. These companies have a vested interest in not being labeled as spammers because their email might get flagged or their domain blacklisted. In addition, if you unsubscribe, they (if they're set up properly) won't send your phone data to their call centers or your address to their printer for adverts. I know there's an example above of Best Buy still spamming someone, but most companies can flag your data across all their marketing platforms. It saves them salary to a call center rep and money to their printers, for starters. It's just good business to pay attention and actually unsubscribe people who don't want their email.

    In the end, once your email address has been harvested, it is going to be sold and resold so long as your postmaster doesn't say your account is invalid or blocked. Unsubscribing won't make your email address worth more to an unscrupulous seller selling to unscrupulous buyers. But it will (generally) stop emails from groups and companies that don't actually want to spam you.
     
  15. Apr 12, 2017 #14
    I guess I will add one more thing - it should be obvious but when I say "always unsubscribe", if you get an email telling you that you have won a lottery you never entered from a nation you cannot pronounce, and all you have to do is call them back on their international line to win twenty five million dollars... you are probably better off not asking to unsubscribe.

    If you're me, you respond and goad them into as long an email conversation as possible to waste their time and resources.
     
  16. Apr 12, 2017 #15

    jack action

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    What is checked by clicking "Unsubscribe" is not if the email is valid (there will be a notice sent back if it's not anyway), it is to verify who are naive enough to interact with spam. Those emails are worth more because there is a bigger chance you have someone who will fall for a scam. In such a case, be prepared to receive tons of spam because you will be a the top of the list.
     
  17. Apr 12, 2017 #16

    jedishrfu

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    A good analogy here is the sports prediction story.

    A guy sends out 1024 emails saying he can predict the outcome of a world series of 10 baseball games.

    He sends 512 emails saying team A wins and 512 saying team B will win and says if you sign up for $1 I'll send you my predictions for the next game.

    If team A wins then he sends his next game prediction to the ones who saw the team A winning prediction, 256 saying team A will win again and 256 saying team B will win this time with say $2 for predictions.

    He keeps,doing this with smaller and smaller sets of emails and a subset of these folks have seen his winning proedictions and believe he's onto something so they buy the future predictions.

    In the end, he makes a bunch of money with no one the wiser.

    http://skepdic.com/perfectprediction.html
     
  18. Apr 13, 2017 #17

    Borg

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  19. Apr 13, 2017 #18

    jedishrfu

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    Apparently the skeptics live here at skeptic.com with their magazine so the other skeptic had to use the address above. Is nothing sacred on the web when even the skeptics can doubt each other?
     
  20. Apr 13, 2017 #19

    Borg

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    I didn't get a response from your link which is why I started examining the URL. Count it up to skeptical examination of email links from spammers. :biggrin:
     
  21. Apr 13, 2017 #20

    jedishrfu

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    Did it finally work? Maybe your network is blocking it?

    Its the Skeptics Dictionary site as if they really need a dictionary.
     
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