Kingston Police warm of email ‘unsubscribe’ scam

Photo by Sergey Zolkin.

Many people have found themselves going through their email inbox and looking to ‘unsubscribe’ from mailing lists, however, a recent uptick in a phishing scam involving an ‘unsubscribe’ emails has prompted Kingston Police to bring the scam to the public’s attention.

According to Kingston Police, the scammers send emails appearing to be a confirmation to a request to unsubscribe from a mailing list. The subject lines of these emails are usually similar to “Confirm your unsubscribe request,” or “Client #980920318 To STOP Receiving These Emails From Us Hit reply And Let Us Know.”

When victims click the ‘unsubscribe’ email link, it will trigger a ‘new email’ window to appear in your email service. That email will be addressed to 15 to 20 recipients, and will contain “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.

“Don’t click ‘send’ on that email!” Kingston Police warned in a press release on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019.

“The 15-20 recipients of this email are actually accounts set up for spamming purposes. If you send this email, the spammers will know your email address is a ‘live one,’ and they’ll add it to their list. Such lists can be used in other, more lucrative scams.”

Kingston Police suggest the following tips to avoid scams like this one:

  • Scammers expect you to click and respond without thinking, so be alert.
  • Never click on links in emails that you weren’t expecting, or that are generally vague or lacking information.
  • Never reply to people you know or weren’t expecting an email from. Even if it appears to be from someone you know, it’s best to pick up the phone and call them to be sure.

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