Spam continues to rise. In November alone, people saw a 35% increase of spam in their online mailboxes, and not only do that but also use new ways to fool spam filters to somehow get into peope's email. 31 billion spam was the average amount sent in October, but that amount has jumped to 85 billion. It's the highest amount we've seen in months, says David Mayer, product manager at InPort Systems.

While the hackers and spammers are busy gathering the email addresses they spam, there's a few things you can do to reduce the amount of crap you recieve.

The most important thing: don't put a full email address on the net. If you're going to post it, break it apart so that the evil email-harvesting bots can't get them:
something [at] hotmail.com, or something like that. They won't be able to use something like that, so they'll pass right over it and never use it.

Use a seperate email address for "junk". This means registration on websites, anything where the messages sent won't be personally for you. That way, if you do somehow submit the address to some bad website, you can simply close the address without having to notify all your contacts.

Use a good email provider. Many ISPs provide email addresses, which is fine, except that they often don't have good outside spam filters. Spam often targets an entire domain, and any email providers should have the standard blacklist of email-relay servers that usually carry the spam. That way, you should not even get anything in your "junk box". Some good email providers are GMail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. All have very good spam filters, and if you currently use an ISP for email, you will probably notice a decrease in spam after switching.

If things get really bad, try using a spam filter. These look for common phrases and patterns often found in spam, and seperate it from the rest of your mail. Here's a review of the top spam filters. Try Spamhilator if you're using POP, which works by accessing the server before your email client does. You can also get plugins for your email client, such as SpamFighter for Outlook Express.

And if even a spam filter can't control the massive amounts of spam, consider changing your email address occaisonally. It will take some time to notify your contacts about the change of address, but it will take even longer for the spammers to get the update, unless of course you notify them, too (just kidding!).

Hopefully these tips will allow you to open up your inbox without the dread of ugly advertisements filling up your space.

new email addresses can receive spam within minutes of being created, even if they've never yet been used.
I've confimed that through experiments, creating semi-random email addresses on my server which usually started gathering spam in 5-10 minutes.

And for many changing their address is no (realistic) option.
The old address is too widely spread among people you need to stay in contact with, not all of whom are capable of handling something as simple as a change of address notification (think forum accounts, accounts at download stores, etc.).

I took delviery of a BlackBerry yesterday, courtesy of RIM and the UK PR people, which has been preloaded with some applications that I wanted to review. They set up an email account as part of the process, of course.

When I switched it on there was a welcome message from RIM, introducing the applications that had been installed, and a total of 49 spams... All this on a brand new account that had never actually been used to post an email.

As you say, it's par for the course these days.

The amount of spam blocket before it gets to your inbox is probably what most of us do not see. Using an ISP or lower-quality email provider will expose you to the millions of spam out there. If you open a hotmail/gmail/yahoo account, it will take much longer to get spam, so they must have quite substantial filters.

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