As a consumer, it is a good idea to have three different email accounts setup.

Personal/Business Email Account – The first purposeful email address should be used exclusively for friends, family or business. These trusted individuals, in your contact list, should be made aware of the purpose of this email account:

Make it clear, that you do not want your trusted people to share this address with anyone else, including mass emailing jokes and chain emails, any “Send to a friend” or “Invite a friend” services from a third party vendor, or the entering of your email address on ballots and surveys (both online and paper-based). Generally this is a paid (ex: cable/dsl) or business account.

The Commerce and Transactional Email Account – The second purposeful email address should be used for dealing with trusted businesses, such as utility providers and banks, distributors, etc. The purpose of this email allows you to separate personal emails, from advertising or transactional emails:

If you want to receive emails for your daily business transaction, you can have a folder and rule setup for your Accounts Payable and Receivable. If you want a folder to receive advertising on the latest products and services, which you sell and receive, you can have a folder for the different distributors.

The Group Board Email Account – A recommended third purposeful email address should be used for group emails, such as public newsgroups, message boards, and other online services that require an email address for subscription purposes. These type email of email accounts are more likely to expose your email address to spam do to the public nature of there use.

The reason for creating the purposeful email accounts comes down to one simple point. There is too much real spam congesting the internet already. If you only have one account, then it is more often inadvertently exposed to the public internet. The more this happens, the more your single email account can be vulnerable to spam attacks by external parties, whether this is intended or not.