Scammers send out fake ‘unsubscribe’ spam emails to validate legitimate email addresses for future phishing and spam campaigns.
Spammers have been sending emails that merely inquire if the user wants to unsubscribe or subscribe for a long time. These emails don’t specify what the user is unsubscribing or subscribing to, and spammers are using them to see if the recipient’s email address is real and vulnerable to phishing scams and other nefarious activity.
If they get the needed confirmation, they’ll bombard it with various spam emails. The campaign is simple in design – the victim will get a basic email with this call to action in it asking whether the consumer wants to unsubscribe or subscribe:
“Please confirm your Subscribe (sic) or Unsubscribe. Confirm Subscribe me! Unsubscribe me! Thank you!”
If the user clicks on the embedded subscribe/unsubscribe links, the mail client will generate a new email that will be forwarded to a large number of different email addresses controlled by the spammer.
After sending the mail, users expect to be unsubscribed from future communications but they are, however, confirming for the spammers that their email address is real and under surveillance.
BleepingComputer created a new email account for testing purposes, which they never used on any website or service. When they responded to multiple confirmation emails received on another email account using the new email address. After sending unsubscribe/subscribe responses from the new account, their new account was bombarded with spam emails within a few days.
This test also revealed that spammers are utilizing these subscribe/unsubscribe emails to fine-tune their mailing lists and confirm email addresses that are vulnerable to phishing and frauds.
It was also stated that these attacks aren’t restricted to spam emails; nothing stops scammers from using phishing or social engineering against the target email, which is sometimes more hazardous and difficult to detect and stop.
Consumers should never click any links they receive in an email unless they are fully certain of the sender’s validity and the link’s integrity, according to security experts. No credible company will ever send an email with only the alternatives to “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” and without any information.
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