It may be a controversial view, but I think that many people get rather over-excited by the issue of spam email—rather like conventional 'junk mail' which comes through the letter box, it can be quite irritating but doesn't actually do any harm.
And, like paper junk mail, you can always throw it away.
Of course, you should have adequate protection against viruses and other malicious software but that is really a separate issue.
For several years, I have used Plusnet as my broadband supplier and have generally been pleased to recommend them to both friends and clients.
Like many ISPs, Plusnet offer a spam filtering service which provides various options—they can either delete the suspected spam directly or they will pass it on to the user with [SPAM] added to the subject line.
Because I know that automatic filtering of this kind can never be perfect, I chose the latter option and it soon became clear that (1) quite a lot of spam was not identified and (2) there were a small, but regular, number of 'false positives' which would have deleted important emails if the more aggressive filtering option had been chosen.
Last week, a Plusnet user reported that he had failed to receive a number of important emails and I was also getting an 'undelivered' message, in respect of an email sent to another Plusnet user, with the most helpful (not!!) error message 452 Too many recipients received this hour.
A little research on the internet, including the Plusnet web site, reveals that they have now introduced another level of filtering based on the 'reputation' of the sender and that reputation would appear to include the number of emails sent in the last hour.
I first came across this 'reputation' method of filtering several years ago when I suddenly found that emails to my most important client were being rejected—I was a Pipex Broadband user at the time and it turns out that the filtering organisation used by my client had detected spam email from one of the Pipex servers and had therefore blocked any email from that server..
I must say that Pipex didn't seem particularly interested in addressing the problem—even though it wasn't directly of their making, many of their clients were being blocked as a direct consequence of using Pipex.
As my client was a big company, the managers I dealt with knew nothing of this policy though the strategy of the technical people was to 'block first and ask questions afterwards—after a good deal of argee-bargee, this problem was solved by putting my email address on a 'whitelist'.
In the case of Plusnet, the only choices presently available are to use this service or turn-off any form of spam filtering.
I think that losing email is far more serious than getting a few messages about Viagra, etc, so my choice would be to turn off spam filtering altogether.
More information on the Plusnet 'reputation' filtering at IronPort Email and Web Security
For an alternative approach to dealing with junk mail, read my article on Living with Junk Mail