Q&A: How do I know if clicking on those unsubscribe links is safe?

A person using a phone to research the safety of clicking on unsubscribe links.

Scammers sometimes use fake emails with a phony "unsubscribe" link at the bottom. Learn how to unsubscribe safely. | Norton

Question: My email inbox is flooded. I want to unsubscribe to some of the promotions I signed up for and some I didn’t. But how can I tell the links are safe to click on?

Answer: We get it. Signing up for that email list might have seemed like a good idea in exchange for a big discount or some other perk. Now you just want the emails to stop!

Getting rid of all those pesky promotional emails is a key step toward decluttering your digital life. And if you're simply hitting "unsubscribe" on an email from a legit company, there's really no downside.

The problem is, scammers sometimes use fake emails with a phony "unsubscribe" link at the bottom. Click on the link, and you could land on a scam website or end up with spyware, or another type of malware, on your device.

So, here's what to do. If you remember signing up for the emails and you're sure they come from the actual business, go ahead and hit unsubscribe. Don't remember signing up for the emails or think the message looks fishy? Use the tools in your email program to label the message as "spam." For example, here's how to label a Gmail message as spam.

Marking the email as "spam" will send future messages from the same sender straight to your spam folder. And it will get you one step closer to your goal: a decluttered inbox.

Cyber threats have evolved, and so have we.

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Allie Johnson
  • Allie Johnson
  • Freelance Writer
Allie Johnson is a freelance journalist who covers cybersecurity, privacy, and consumer topics. She has written for Bankrate, CreditCards.com, and Discover.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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