FORT MYERS, Fla. - Make the email stop! While signing up for all those email store discounts and special deals seemed like a good idea at first, you may feel like now, it's an email invasion. There are websites out there that promise to help you unsubscribe and simplify your online life, but are they too good to be true?
The site that caught our attention is "Unsubscribedeals.com." It's gotten some good press and promises to let you unsubscribe from all kinds of daily deals, all at once, after you sign up with them. And it's free!
"They mention the fact that they promise not to give your email address out," points out our cyber expert John Benkert with CPR Tools, Inc. "They also said but we will be contacting you with some contests and some prizes and those kinds of things."
So instead of signing up to clear out your inbox, you could be getting more email.
"Why would they, a legitimate company, for instance, for this especially, unsubscribing, why would they need to send you anything about a contest? That's not what you're going to that website for," Benkert said.
So what's your best strategy for cleaning out your email box? Benkert told us, it depends on the type of email.
If it's a legitimate company you know, find the "unsubscribe" box or option and use it. But when it comes to a company you think is spamming you, don't click on any link.
"Hitting the unsubscribe button just alerts that company or that entity that it's an active email address and that's just all they're trying to find out most of the time is that somebody's there reading that email. Because to them, that's money," Benkert explained.
Gathering active emails is a huge online business. Billions of dollars change hands selling email lists often generated by people trying to unsubscribe to spam. The end result is more spam. And it gets worse.
"When I get an email and I unsubscribe or click on that link, then basically what that tells them is 'Ah, not only is that active, but somebody is actually reading this email. I can put that on my list and sell that to another company as a marketing ploy.' " said Benkert.
So isn't all of this against the law? Technically, yes.
"It is against the law not to honor someone's unsubscribed," Benkert said.
But he also points out that when it comes to spammers, "they're simply trying to get active email addresses. They're never going to email you again. They want to get your email, put it to their list, and then sell those lists."
One more idea we actually found online. Set up a separate email account with one of the free companies for anything that your subscribe to including for deals with a business. Then you can keep your personal account just for people you want to hear from.