Here's a method of creating unlimited virtual addresses to make it easier to sort mail and identify spam. For example, you can create a separate email address for each account you establish with an online merchant, such as amazon or ebay or ancestry.com. It even works for this newsletter. As long as you set up a "catchall" address with your email provider, all of these will be forwarded to your main account, and you can use your email client to sort and filter these as you see fit.
You can do this with Gmail, without having to pay to set up your own domain or deal with mail servers. Just add a plus sign and any text you want after your address but prior to the “at sign.” Gmail will ignore anything from the plus sign forward and send the message to your normal Gmail account. You can then use Gmail's filters to sort your mail based on these suffixes.
Let's create a few examples. First, let's assume that your e-mail address is email@example.com.
Substitute your real Gmail address in place of firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might be suspicious that some merchants are sharing your e-mail address with others, such as giving your address to spammers. You can create "special addresses" for each merchant: you might create email@example.com and use that address only when signing up for Ancestry.com services. In a similar manner, you might create firstname.lastname@example.org when signing up for Facebook. You could sign up with Twitter by using an e-mail address of email@example.com.
That's all there is to it: in front of the "at sign" simply insert a plus sign followed by anything you want (no spaces or "funny punctuation.")
You will receive the e-mail in your normal Gmail account, as always. However, when you receive a "spammy" message, you will know how they got your e-mail address. You can see that the message was sent to firstname.lastname@example.org which reveals that the sender obtained your e-mail address from Facebook.
You can also invoke Gmail's filters to create a new rule to automatically move all future incoming messages sent to that full address to the Trash.
Simple… and it works.