UMass Boston

Junk Mail

Junk Mail, and the Dangers of Decision Fatigue


Part of what makes phishing a dangerous attack is that it's easy to miss one tricky scam when it's mixed into hundreds of other emails in your inbox. Much of that clutter isn't phishing, but it could make you more vulnerable to phishing due to Decision Fatigue -- the concept that the more decisions we make through the day (even small ones!) the worse we perform on subsequent decisions. When you've been wading through endless junk mail all day, you're more likely to fall for a phishing email that you would normally have caught in time.

"Unsubscribing" the Safe Way

A junk mail sender will continue emailing you daily or weekly, forever, until you make it stop -- Just deleting it won't prevent the next one. Most emails' unsubscribe links do just what they claim and are an effective way to reduce your clutter. However, it is also possible for a malicious email to actually hide an attack in the unsubscribe link. If you're not sure if the email might be malicious, here are some other safe ways to reduce your future junk mail:

An unruly inbox is taxing on your well-being and potentially dangerous too. Prune your inbox regularly with these tools, and if it's been a while since you've cleared the overgrowth, consider setting aside some time to cut through the thorny thicket!

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