Best Practices - Unsubscribing unwanted email

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    Anti-Spam products such as McAfee AntiSpam should block virtually all spam, but you may  occasionally still receive messages you don’t want to receive.



    If you didn’t opt in to receiving an advertisement, it is unsolicited, and probably spam. if you have given your  email address to a reputable company, for example Microsoft or Amazon,  they may periodically email you. If you don’t want to receive these  adverts any more, these companies respect your privacy and will unsubscribe you from their mailing lists.

    Other less reputable companies and spammers sell lists of  active email addresses to other 3rd party companies and  other spammers, they often use the ‘unsubscribe’ option to verify that  an email account is valid, and that the recipient has read and responded to the spam.


    Unsubscribing from unwanted mail

    To determine whether to Unsubscribe from a mail:



    If you are unsure, blacklist the sender using your  anti-spam or email application or create an inbox rule to  automatically move messages that contain specific phrases to a junk  folder. It’s not worth unsubscribing only to end up receiving more  spam.



    Opt-in Newsletters that you have  previously subscribed to can generally be unsubscribed without causing more spam.



    If you recognize the sender as someone you have previously bought items from or done business with, the  mail is likely to be legitimate.



    To  check the message, if possible, do not open the message in your email  application. Some spam messages contain tracking information "web  beacons", JavaScript and other ways that spammers can confirm you read  their spam. Instead, view the message source. In Microsoft Outlook, right click  on the message subject and select “Options…” The internet headers are  displayed. In Mozilla Thunderbird, click on the message and  press Ctrl-U. The entire message is displayed, including the message  headers. Recent versions of email applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird do not automatically download pictures  or run scripts included in the message so can be used to view the  message contents.



    Look at the header information, the first or second Received: line from the bottom should indicate where  the message was originally sent from - if this does not match the  urls contained in the message body and the supposed sender of the  message, the message is almost certainly spam, do not unsubscribe  these mails. The domain names should match all the way through the  message, as CAN-SPAM compliant companies are not allowed to hide the  origin of the email by law. Spammers often use botnets or remailers to  disguise the origin of the mail. If the sending server is obscured or  does not match the sender of the message, do not unsubscribe the  message.



    Look for the unsubscribe link, it will commonly contain a code in the url to identify your email  address, this could either be your email address in plan text format  e.g. or it may contain another identifier e.g. If the domain is not familiar to you, the message is  likely to be spam.



    Below is a quick checklist which may help  when deciding whether to unsubscribe or block unwanted mail:


    • Is the message  from a known sender? If yes, unsubscribe
    • Is the message from a  reputable company that you have done business with in the past? If  yes, unsubscribe
    • Is the sender email address of the email  always the same? - Blacklist sender
    • Does the  sender email address change each time but key phrases in the subject/message body stay the same and are safe to block? – Add a  content rule to block the messages.