Just about everyone goes through the hassle of removing unnecessary spam in their inbox every day. If you have a fresh and unused email address and want it to stay clean of spam mails then you should consider these steps below.
But to understand why you should consider these steps we will talk about spiders (also known as: bots, address harvester, parser, the list goes on..).
First, never think your email address is safe because a human being has to register or do any other fancy stuff to see your address. And please consider that today almost anything is being spidered by google and other bigger search engines. That means that entering your email address in private guest books or bulleting boards is not safe at all because it is indexed by these engines. Most email address harvesters start their search in the big indexes like Google, Dmoz, Bing or Yahoo.
These days you can automate about everything a human can do except writing semantically correct letters or articles. Even if you display your email address as an image on your business website the bots will be able to decipher it and get your mailbox filled with unnecessary spam.
A good script or bot can even knock out these fancy captchas.
1. Do not enter your real email address in guest books or bulletin boards (even if they are register only).
2. Do not activate images or even html emails in your email client. When loading images there is the risk that you will send your identification to the spammers server and he will set your email address to valid (and probably resell it).
3. If you really want to give your email address away, you should obfuscate it as much as possible (still human readable though). As an example for [email protected] use your[dot]name(at)example[dot]com, this will not stop all the bots but you will get less spam for sure.
4. If you have your own domain you should use the catch all function and use email addresses like [email protected] so you can always block that specific address when someone begins sending spam or sold your address.
5. If you only want to read some information on a register only bulletin board or site you should use a disposable email address like http://www.mailslapping.com/ .
6. Use a good antivirus and mal-,spy- and adware detection tool. They often steal your address book and resell the addresses, including your own.
7. Do not use those fancy and 99 percent useless browser toolbars. They often include malware and/or spyware that can even capture data you enter in web forms.
You are on the safe side if you do not blindly trust the sites which want you to enter your email address. If you use your email address for direct contact with a serious business or company there is most likely no harm. Deactivate HTML rendering of your emails in the mail client of your choice.
If you use a email address from a free service like GMX, Yahoo, or your local provider. There is most likely an option which lets you filter spam on the server. This way you can stop spam before its in your inbox. Its always better to block aggressive and explicitly allow the sender addresses you want. This way you probably lose a mail or two, but it is not an email from someone you really need to receive mails from.
There are also some good blacklists out there. If you can configure your mail server to use them (or your mail client) then you really should. These blacklists grow everyday and are pretty well up to date. One of them is SpamHaus (just google for email blacklist).
It depends on your needs but the more of these steps you can follow the less spam you will get.