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Why You Shouldn’t Click ‘Unsubscribe’ on Unwanted Emails


You receive hundreds to thousands of emails every day. Your phone buzzes non-stop because of the constant barrage of information flooding your inbox. It’s hurting your productivity and morale. There’s nothing quite as deflating as opening your inbox and finding thousands of unread emails. What’s worse is that only 15% of those emails are actually useful for you. 

If that sounds familiar, you’ve probably contemplated clicking that “unsubscribe” button to rid yourself of the digital clutter. It seems like a wise choice. But HOLD ON. That button could be more trouble than it’s worth. 

Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) is an IT support company with 20 years of experience helping businesses organize and manage their technology. In this article, we’ll discuss: 

  • Why you shouldn’t fall for that deceptive unsubscribe button 
  • What you should do instead to declutter your inbox 

Spam Emails are Hurting Your Business 

Spam emails in the business setting are alive and thriving. Unfortunately, that’s hurting your business. Here are a few reasons why your organization should take action against unwanted emails: 

It Hurts Employee Morale and Productivity 

You could be losing hours of productivity from your team every year because of spam emails. 

According to a report by Security Boulevard, anywhere between 45% to 85% of all emails are spam. That means an employee receiving up to 30 external emails daily could also receive around 30 spam messages weekly. It could take them roughly five hours a year to sort those emails out. However, 30 emails is not a lot. Some roles could receive up to 100 emails a day and spend as much as 18 hours a year just sorting messages in their inboxes. 

Not to mention, sorting thousands of spam emails every year is demoralizing work that doesn’t help your business achieve its goals. 

an employee dealing with spam emails

It Distracts Company Leadership from Important Matters 

The problems wrought by spam emails are even worse for company leadership as they receive an even larger volume of emails daily (both spam and legitimate ones).  

While most leaders won’t entertain spam, it could cause notification fatigue. That’s when a person is bombarded with so many notifications from their devices that they begin ignoring them altogether. That means they could end up ignoring legitimate emails as well. 

Spam emails cause unnecessary distractions for your leadership team, keeping them from performing more important tasks. 

It Could Contain Cyber Threats 

A number of unwanted emails aren’t always about advertising; they could also be traps set up by cybercriminals. And, if you think about the number of spam emails you receive each year, it’s only a matter of time before someone on your team makes a very costly mistake. 

Top 15 Cybersecurity Best Practices

Why You Should Never Hit the ‘Unsubscribe’ Button 

Theoretically, when you hit the unsubscribe button, it will inform the sender that you are not interested, and that will immediately stop the barrage of emails. In real life, however, that’s not always the case. 

There are a lot of dangers that could be hiding behind the unsubscribe button. It could be a phony link that, when clicked, will infect your device with malware. Or, it could signify to spammers that your email address is active, prompting them to send more spam your way. Either way, you won’t get the results you were expecting. 

It’s worth noting that some unsubscribe buttons ARE safe to click. However, ensuring that will require a lot of scrutiny and several processes you probably don’t have the time for. For one, you must determine that the email is legitimate, which is much harder than it sounds. Remember, cybercriminals are expert imitators. They can easily pretend to be a member of a legitimate organization promoting their brand. 

Also, if an email did come from a legitimate source, it’s not unheard of for some companies to ignore whether you’ve opted to unsubscribe. It’s unethical, but it happens more often than you’d think. 

At this point, hitting the unsubscribe button is riskier than just ignoring it. But that won’t help you remove the clutter in your digital space. 

How to Declutter Your Inbox Safely 

There are a few ways to address unwanted emails in your inbox that will also prevent you from receiving more of them in the future. 

For the less tech-savvy, you should use the tools in your email program and label the message as “spam” without opening the email. This will mark it and send future messages from the same sender straight to the spam/junk folder. You can also block specific email addresses or domains to keep them from sending you more unwanted emails. 

a person receiving a spam email

For those that have more IT know-how, it would be wise to report spam emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov so they can get to the root of the problem. You can also forward the email to your email provider or the sender’s email provider, as most email providers want to cut off spammers who abuse their systems. However, do note that fiddling with spam email increases the risk of you accidentally clicking on a malware link somewhere in the message. 

Ready to Do Away with Spam Emails Safely? 

It might be tempting to hit the unsubscribe button on a pesky spam email, but it’s not worth the risk and the hassle. It could be a phony button that could inject malware into your device when clicked or inform spammers/scammers that your email is active. It’s better to err on the side of caution and mark those messages as spam than delete them without opening them. Or, you could report them to the FTC to get to the root of the problem. 

At ITS, we’ve helped hundreds of businesses learn how to better protect themselves and their networks from cyber scams. Find out more about how we can help you by scheduling a free network assessment. Or, you can learn more about how to fight scam emails by checking the following resources: 

Top 15 Cybersecurity Best Practices