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.