You visit a website, you like what you see and you sign up for their newsletter. You get lots of cool information, and you also get links to products you might want to buy. You start to click the link, and then you think: this is exactly how “phishing” and all that scary stuff works. Should you click? Is it safe, or is it just going to take you to a fake site and steal all your info?
The answer is: some newsletters are legitimate, and others are not. But there are several indications that will help you determine whether you’re reading a newsletter you can trust.
The elements of legitimate newsletters
Every legitimate email list should incorporate the following, usually near the bottom in fine print:
- Double Opt-In. When you first sign up for the newsletter, you should receive an email asking you to verify that you are the person who signed up that email address. This protects you from someone else signing up your email address (by mistake, or in an attempt to get you inundated by spam).
- Contact information. There should be some sort of physical address – often a post office address, if the newsletter is produced by an individual who doesn’t want to give out her home address. There should probably also be a phone number and contact name (though I’ve seen legitimate email newsletters that left these out).
- How to unsubscribe. There should be clear instructions on how to unsubscribe from the email list. It might be a link, or directions to reply with a certain subject heading. If they have not included this information, then they’re spammers. Legitimate sources would take this step to ensure only people who want their newsletters are receiving them.
- Providing what they promised. Sometimes an email list promises a free download if you sign up. You should receive instructions for that download in the first email back from them. If they promise you discount coupon codes, you should receive them. Whatever they promised, you should get.
Don’t be afraid of trusting newsletters. Once you understand how to determine which ones are trustworthy, you can enjoy the good ones without worry.Tags: Online Shopping