Oh, the joy of clicking “unsubscribe” when your email inbox overflows with spam messages trying to sell you stuff you DO NOT WANT! But what if there’s no “unsubscribe” link and the emails won’t stop?
The FTC says that’s what happened to people who set up “Free Membership” accounts with Experian to manage access to their Experian credit report information online. The accounts let people “freeze” their credit to make it difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in their name and “unfreeze” their credit to apply for a mortgage or other new credit.
But, the FTC says, the free accounts came with an extra that many people didn’t want — emails from Experian pitching its credit card offers, credit score services, auto-related products and services, and upsells for its paid membership programs. According to the FTC, Experian sent the emails even to people who opted out of getting its marketing emails, falsely claiming the email “contains important information about your account.” What was missing from the messages? The FTC says the emails didn’t include a way for people to opt out of getting them, in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act.
Experian Consumer Services agreed to pay a $650,000 civil penalty and comply with the CAN-SPAM Act to settle an FTC lawsuit. The CAN-SPAM Act gives you the right to stop companies from sending you email that primarily advertises commercial products or services. Among other things, it requires companies that send marketing emails to include a clear and conspicuous notice that you have the right to opt out of getting future marketing emails. They also must give you an “unsubscribe” link or other internet-based way to opt out.
If you get unwanted marketing emails, opt out of getting them. The company must honor your request within 10 business days. If there’s no way to opt out or if you still get unwanted email from the company after 10 business days, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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Very Well Done!!! Thank you!
In reply to Very Well Done!!! Thank… by Linda French
You can't unsubscribe from a scam email when it is coming from a company that you subscribe to. They have stolen their logo and id. You just have to report it to the authorities and delete it. You can't even "junk" it or you will junk your supplier.
I've encountered situations where any response seems to confirm that my email address is real. Similar to the spam phone calls.
Is this a common issue?
This was very good and helpful information.
Thank you! Anne Taylor's is the worst! Numerous unsubscribe returns, unsubscribe emails, second and third, even fourth requests, and I finally sent emails with promises to forward copies of all of it to the FTC and FCC. Still they kept coming! Now I will send copies of this announcement with my numerous requests! I can't understand why they want to waste time and money on ads to someone not interested! Last week I found a bank charge where Experian is charging my acct $16.50 and it must be for their monitoring service! And I would never agree to that. First of all, my ID has been found in 13 breaches. Almost all promise some kind of monitoring service as payment for their "lapse" in security. Of course, none, including Expedia, actually provide it, or it would not be so easy for the next bunch of hackers to steal it again!
nope clicking on the link to opt out only confirms the email is real and then your box is all of a sudden overflowing with unwanted emails. It has happened to me.
In reply to nope clicking on the link to… by Sylvia Picone
Agreed. Unsubscribe tabs are scary and work in reverse. We just send it to junk mail and pray that they will leave us alone !
Good information. Thank you.
Very valuable advice.
Very much appreciated
Thanks for the web address. I get too many without unsubscribe locations.
Many times, such emails come from fake companies, have an OPT OUT link that, once you respond and opt out, the "other side" knows they have a "live wire" user - and then you really start getting bombarded, not only with Spam but phishing attempts, etc. That makes people leery of opting out of legitimate company messaging. Most people know Experian and other legitimate companies (many don't). I get spam from what appears to be my mortgage company with look alike names and from Chase under eChase.com rather than simply "Chase". Those kinds of messages allow me to opt out - but I know what will happen if I try. Some even quote account info that I can't image outsiders would know - I can only presume the sender bought into some hacked data. "Who ye' gonna sue?
In reply to Many times, such emails come… by Len Nadybal
I thoroughly agree. I would rather suffer sometimes years of these phone calls and emails knowing that if I reply, click on an unsubscribe link, or respond in any way, they will have me and it will only get worse.
That must be why for 3 yrs now capitol one keeps sending preapproved offers thought it may be kredit carma account never signed up for coming through Walmart never applied nor asked they wont stop i did one inquiry was refused Richmond Virginia is where Capitol one offers originating from started before credit freeze hacked accounts theft id etc no one does anything but accuse me of bad things political motivated as well threats attempts at poisining smeared 12 yrs now ive reported now cfpb has me as suspect after i sent complaint about medical bill from 7yrs ago new nothing about lost my home following morning after back injury surgery my medical records 50 yrs gone local prosc had i asked help disability used for very unethethical bad reasons never asked him for tried retrieving records 6mos after leaving them 6 pages out of over 75 mri disc etc new altered false info now used absoulty most heinous evil seen but DOJ FBI dont do anything im 60bdisabled well documented my physician of over 25 yrs attacked and then attacked me fear I know now why conjured false info
This is one of the better FTC reports, its so applicable to email accounts.
I have an account with Experian but I don’t get it for free. I get billed each month and I also have gotten unwanted mail from them.
Thanks for this good news!
Why is Experian still in business? It seems they have numerous data breaches (as recently as *this year*), and the data in their reports is apparently not very accurate. Why are these companies allowed to profit off our data without our permission, while consumers have to bear the cost and the risk?
Sounds exactly my scenario. So what is Experian doing about it now?
In reply to Sounds exactly my scenario… by Barbara K
All of these things have happened to me. I also noticed that many of these companies are from the UK. I also would like to know if I can join the lawsuit.
I get text solicitations from ex president Trump. I always delete and report spam. Because they use rotary phone numbers, I still get calls daily. I have logged a dozen or mote numbers so far!!!
I also get emails from the Daily Kos that I have repeatedly unsubscribed from. The emails just keep coming!!! Why can't you stop this abuse of the phone and internet???
It seems that some of the emails come from marketing companies and when you opt out of the company they emailed to you, they pass your email along to another company who then blasts you with emails.
The problem is the Unsubscribe button does not work or there is none and the company states you must submit your request in writing.
Excellent advice. I will copy your link and publish in my real estate FB busn page. Keep up your great work!👍😊
Are we still able to join in on the civil lawsuit ?
I am a victim of the Experian tactics mentioned in this article. Can I file a claim? If so, where is the site?
I get totally frustrated trying to get scam emails off my phone with no success.
Its mading for sure, even being hacked from the emails.
Thanks so much!
Thanks so much!
Companies or "sites" force people to subscribe just to shop, not even buy, sometimes just look. It's aggravating as can be! There should be an option to opt out or choose settings when go to site!
Thanks for the help consumers get from FTC, by adhering to US laws , rules, and regulations. As a senior consumer and a victim of identity theft I have encountered the same issue with Experian“. Recently, Anthem appointed Experian to protect consumers’ identity found to be breached. My frequent communication with Experian to request locking my account was ignored. Experian claims that it’s intended only for “freeze/unfreeze” and not having the right to the “locking” part. This is my apparent contention.
Thank you for this information.
A report to FTC or any agency needs to know the definition of report per federal rule is not an action to help or represent any individual. A report is for educational purposes only. To help public understand.example: a book report.
Enforcing is an action . A person can freeze credit but not email. This sounds great but what and how does the process work to file a suit against the company? If 10 days and they don’t stop..what is consequence . Is there a class action lawsuit ?
I’m confused what my responsibility is to collect information ie print emails or do we forward to FTC? Etc
In reply to A report to FTC or any… by Alison Bower
The www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov website asks questions about what happened. You choose the answer that matches your situation, and you can write in other information on your own if you want. You decide if you want to give your name or any personal information.
The FTC uses reports to investigate and bring cases against fraud, scams, and bad business practices. We share reports with more than 2,800 law enforcement partners, but we can’t resolve reports for individual people.
Linked in provides the link, however no matter how many time you try to stop the emails, they continue. I just keep deleting 3 a day for years.
FTC...perhaps a newsletter on how to block unwanted email senders and/or identify them as spam would be helpful to many of the folks here in the comments and beyond. In some cases, those tactics might be more successful than clicking the "unsubscribe" button. Thanks for all your hard work...it is deeply appreciated!
In reply to FTC...perhaps a newsletter… by ChristineO
In reply to This FTC article tells How… by FTC Staff
That is an excellent article! Thank you!
In reply to FTC...perhaps a newsletter… by ChristineO
on my cell phone from verizon it tells you that the incoming call is potential spam and gives you the option to decline. If it doesn't say span just go to call info and if it is a unknown caller block the numberand that takes care if that problem.
It's literally everyday, constantly unscribe, and the still come on my phone, it's makes no sense, trying to get you to sign up for cards, loans insurance etc.
I opted out of getting advertisement from Walmart they said it would take a while to do so and some time there's no link to unsubscribe.Don,t know what s up with that
Thank you about time
I think you should replace the word " with the image of a trash CAN"!
I was overflowed with what turned out to be a marketing company representing known companies. Each one froze my email...no way to block or delete it. Had to sit back and wait a few minutes then I could block. It even represented my cable company - Comcast/Xfinity. I got so tired of this I called Comcast and no way can one get past that darn machine. These problems are not in the data bank. So I said "cancel" and got a live person. Supposedly it's been taken care of but I won't count on it.
I have several subscriptions and yes Experian is one only they can never actually find my account. Thanks for Advice
Thank you for providing this information.
Please enforce CANSPAM more aggressively. We need more enforcement since too many companies don't properly adhere to these requirements.