How to Respond to Invitations to Turn Off Spam


Q. I get a lot of spam—that is, uninvited and unwanted e-mail—much of which are advertisements. Some of the ads contain a link to click on to stop future mail from that sender. Is it safe to accept that invitation?

A. Frankly I’m not sure. I’ve read conflicting recommendations on the subject from so-called experts. For a while I clicked on those invitations to stop future mail from that address and soon began to wonder whether that action actually confirmed my e-mail address for that vendor and thus inadvertently invited more spam. However, I never kept a tally of the outcome so I don’t know whether my suspicion was valid. For now, at least, I no longer respond to spam-removal invitations. If I learn more about this, I will pass it on, or if any reader has better information, let me know and I will share it.

By the way, there are many efforts—using new technology and proposed spam-prohibition legislation—to stop such uninvited ads, but so far, none has been very effective. Check with your Internet service provider to see what spam-stopping tools it has. Also, the next edition of Microsoft’s Outlook has a more effective spam-blocking tool.

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