Did You Know that People Can Add You to Google Groups Without Your Permission?

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Google’s getting more and more evil. Recently, they set up a system whereby anyone could send you email via Google+. Today I discovered that anyone can also add you to a Google Group – and spam you with lots of email – without your permission.

I got an email, in Arabic, about a group I was added to. I promptly clicking on the link in the email to leave the group, and to report spam, but I still got an email posted to the group. I found that I could change my settings, which, by default, allow people to invite and/or add me to Google Groups.

You can change this setting here. Enter your email address, then wait for Google to send you an email, which looks like this:


Click the link (the word “change”), then you’ll see this:


Uncheck either or both of these options, then click Save. You may still want to get invitations, but I can’t imagine that anyone wants to be added to groups without their permission.

3 replies
  1. Mark Rabnett says:

    Thanks, Kirk, for this helpful tip. Unfortunately, after following your instructions and checking the box that would prevent me from being added to a group, I got a message from Google: “Unable to update opt out status for [my Gmail address].” There was a link called simply “Reload.” So I clicked it. Nothing happened. I have tried this three times, with the same result. It’s strange that Google would give you an option and then not follow through. Perhaps a server-related problem? Perhaps a deliberate tactic to frustrate us?

  2. Simon Downs says:

    Kirk, many thanks for the heads up. I ran into the exactly the same issues as Mark. The solution, for me, was to login to my Google account directly at https://groups.google.com/, click on ‘My Settings’ then ‘My Global Settings’ and change my preferences there; which were then updated correctly.


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