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In a forum situation do not allow others to email you via that site. They can simply post a response on site and you can check it at your convenience.
Keep your email address hidden and not viewable to others when setting up account. Spammers will try to join mailing lists for sole intention of harvesting addresses of other members.
If all else fails, create a junk email account. This account can be used to fulfill requirement while keeping your real email address secret and off of any lists.
Do not respond to any spam that you receive. This includes following opt-out link at bottom of page, sending irritated replies, or doing any business with a company that sends you spam.
They have already shown their willingness to ignore your privacy, and in most cases, law. Responding only confirms your email address as real and attached to someone who reads their mail.
You will likely continue receiving spam from that company, and additional spam from other spammers to whom they sold your address.
Understanding that reply only confirms your identity and keeps you on those distribution lists is a key to solving your problem.
Likewise, do not use auto-responders with your email. Auto-responders are away messages that automatically let those who are sending you email know that you are unavailable.
This is very convenient if you are going to be gone for some time. Unfortunately, this auto-response lets spammers know that your email address is active.
Finally, do not forward chain letter emails. Forwarded chain letters can contain hundreds of email addresses before you ever get to body of letter.
Spammers collect these email addresses and then build distribution lists. They may also try to identify addresses of people with whom you communicate.
This would allow them ability to sneak by any anti-spam software by pretending to be from someone that you know.
Debbie Hamstead is the webmaster of http://www.StompingOutSPAM.com Offering a comprehensive Quick Start Guide to keeping SPAM out of your inbox. She also manages http://www.nichesites4profit.com