This is what works for me:
1. I have three e-mail accounts
a. general use < the rest of the world...untrustworthy and nasty...junque
b. less general < legitimate users who "promise" not to share your info
c. private < family and close friends, like an unlisted telephone number
2. all three are encrypted... e.g. ... [email protected]
, [email protected]
, [email protected]
<notice that they are all the same but for one feature, the sixth character, goes from 1, to 2, to 3
3. whenever I have to include an e-mail address, anywhere, for others I do not use the @ sign... WHY? because "spam-bots" are set up to scan the net, endlessly, 24/7/365, looking for that sign, and then assumes that what comes before it and after it, goes to gether with it, to make an address. So, include your address but use [at] instead of @ . If you get an error message then you must trust the site you are sending it to, otherwise don't, period!
4. when filling in forms, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER include your real identifiable information, >unless you are dealing with a KNOWN and TRUSTED identifiable entity.< Forms are computer generated. Computers are as dumb as bricks. Filling in your name as Fred, when it is really Malcolm, makes no difference to the computer, then if you filled it in with a decimal point, or Rumplestiltskin ... no difference. And that goes for addresses, telephone numbers and zip codes. Just fill in the blanks with junque and move on. If you get an error message, work to the error, not to the whole form. And keep working it until you get through. Forms are to collect info to get back at you, not to get to you, with anything legitimate. More often then enought your ID is sold to a spammer of some sort. Even the telephone company sells our souls for a profit.
5. use a browser that has a good filter system, e.g. Netscape or FireFox. There's half the battle won, right there...mind you it takes some time to set up, but over the long haul...the problem is minimized.
6. change your address periodically...all it takes is one character to be changed, not the whole enchelada. e.g [email protected]
to [email protected]
... just one character, "f" to a "g" that's all it takes, and the system is blind to you...
7. do not visit sites that encourage the downloading of cookies and pop-ups ...and if you do, set the filter to high for those particular sites...
8. no spam filter works without human input...so find one that is heuristically sensitive...preset with a bunch of common sense policy rules, in place before you have to put in your own input...
9. stay away from sites that offer "deals" or "freebies." Most often the stuff is free, including the STD's that come down the tube with them...
10. if you have children, then you should have a "sitter" installed to prevent access to questionable sites, and therefore the chance that a cookie or some ID gathering device will be enforced
11. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER open an attachment without first checking to see if the source is a trusted one, and whether it is or not, save to disk, then rescan it again, before opening with your latest updated anti-malware products
12. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER respond to any e-mail...as they say, "Don't try, don't buy and don't reply to spam. Just delete it" unless you know exactly who it is that is sending it, that it is solicited, and that it is to be trusted. Otherwise, be ruthless and kill it!
13. install, and keep updated, the best, anti-malware you can find and or afford
14. real and "legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email" So right away, be suspicious. They have a phone, they can use it if it is important. KILL IT!
15. treat all personal or financial information as it it were the family jewels ...keep it safely hidden from everyone ...and never on your computer, anywhere, for any reason! DO NOT SHARE IT OVER THE INTERNET.
16. finally, refer persistently offensive or just pain in the butt type mail to SpamCop - Fight back SPAM!
The system is obviously simple to use.
Oh, forgot one important thing. Go to goodle and research spam and spam-bots and the like. Know your enemy. It is eye opening what is available out there!