Cold email - is it really illegal and what consequences I can get?

Hey guys! I saw many people talking that cold email - sending emails to not obt-in is illegal and that you can get fines for doing this. Some people said that you can even get to jail because of sending emails to not obt-in list and that basically its spamming…

So i have a question, is it really that serious? Because i see a lot of potential in cold emailing(sending emails to not obt-in list) but at the same time i’m concerned about the fines.

Maybe you guys can tell whether it can cause you serious troubles or not? I’m not planning to send 1 million emails a day, but i’d love to scale it to 10’000 a day or even more. I’d be sending emails to people scraped from instagram , so i need your honest opinion if its safe.


I’m so confused with you.

In another thread you say:

And yet, here you say:

Have you done ANY research whatsoever about spamming and laws around it?

Go to the laws section of any email marketing service and you will find the fine and legal information…

Not sure where you live but in Canada, here’s a quick idea for you:

Under CASL, the consequences for spammers include fines of up to $1M per violation for individuals and $10M per violation for companies.
Source: About the Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

Read more about it here: Anti-Spam Legislation and Email Marketing – ActiveCampaign Help Center

In my honest opinion, no it is not safe nor worth it. Please listen to your fellow members who talk about the negative consequences of mass cold emailing who are literally advising you against doing something dangerous for yourself and others…


Thanks a lot buddy!

It’s probably regulated under some laws and stuff, but I don’t think you can go to jail 'cause you’ve been cold emailing some users :smiley:

Don’t even worry about that lol, just do it haha nothing will happen

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I need this kind of attitude😂


Never did cold-emailing, but from what I learn so far :

  • B2B : no risk, go for it
  • B2C : can be tricky, but if lnot a BIG BIG spam + with some polite message/features (such as “Unsuscribe”), should be good.

But anyway, you should learn more about this before you go in it. Like in every kind of stuffs you wanna do, first learn

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Yeah, this is the right way to go :smiley:

Depends on where you live, where you’re sending from and where you’re sending to.

It is feasible but if you’re not using opt-in lists you need to look specifically at implied consent laws which varies by country and sometimes even districts within those countries. In Canada for example anyone who publically displays their email somewhere is considered an invitation to be contacted and can be emailed without a dedicated opt-in…at least for businesses. However the catch to that is if they include something like “No solicitations” close to their email address then that implied consent no longer exists.

But do your research and if you’re really concerned consult a lawyer familiar with such laws and work from there. At least in Canada it is a civil offense and not criminal so jail time isn’t really a possibility. Germany I’ve heard though is incredibly strict and aggressive dealing with spam actions…so back to my original point…all depends on the country you’re in, where you’re sending from and who you’re sending to.

TL;DR It is not “safe”.

There are criminal and civil laws.

If cold email spamming is your only option, better look for a new product/service to promote or provide. It is an act of desperation that should be really thought carefully about, for many many different reasons.


Thanks a lot for the help!

So basically under CASL you shouldn’t DM users on IG or do follow/ unfollow? Because as I read it applies not only to emails but all forms of electronic communication.

It depends what you say in the DM:

contains a message encouraging recipients to take part in some type of commercial activity

Follow/unfollow is not a “message”.

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Hey guys. Do you really believe its risky to do cold emailing? Why many people build business on it?

I had some success with it and im thinking whether i should continue doing this or not, because im afraid of getting huge fine or something.

For example if you google “cold email in America” you can read:

Cold emailing is legal in the United States. … You are legally allowed to send emails to business prospects you’ve never met when your recipient/target lives in the United States. Cold - emailing also applies to mass emails as well or bulk sending. While we aren’t huge fans of bulk emailing , it’s perfectly legal to do so.

So what do you think guys

If you read further on that page, the legality in the U.S. also has specific requirements. But yeah, the U.S. is way ‘behind’ this compared to any state in the EU or even Canada - which is a good thing if you are located there. It gets trickier if you are emailing clients that are not located in the U.S. though, as offering services to EU citizens require your to abide by regulations of the EU, not the US ones (such as the GDPR)

If it really risky depends on your specific plans and needs, and how you structure your campaign.
It might also be sensible to talk with a lawyer over this - that way you already have someone at hand for the possible legal issues.

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Just don’t send them emails regularly if they don’t opt in