updated 4/10/2005 8:02:01 PM ET 2005-04-11T00:02:01

We're not any less annoyed by spam. We're just more accepting of it. So says a study released Sunday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Fifty-three percent of adult e-mail users in the United States now say they trust e-mail less because of spam, down from 62 percent a year ago and about the same as a June 2003 Pew survey.

Pew also found that 22 percent of e-mail users say they are spending less time on e-mail because of spam, down from 29 percent last year. In 2003, it was 25 percent.

"This shows some level of tolerance that people are manifesting," said Deborah Fallows, a senior research fellow at Pew and the study's author. "Maybe it's their getting used to it. Maybe it's like other annoying things in life — air pollution, traffic — they are just learning to live with it."

Pornographic spam is on the decline, replaced by fraudulent "phishing" scams aimed at stealing bank passwords and other sensitive information, the study finds.

There was little change in what people do to reduce spam.

About the same percentage avoid giving out e-mail addresses or set up special addresses when they believe they might attract spam. In fact, a lower percentage avoid posting e-mail addresses on Web sites, where spammers often collect addresses for their mailings.

However, there was a slight increase in the percentage of e-mail users who set up hard-to-guess addresses — such as "joe342d3x" — to make it more difficult for dictionary attacks, in which spammers try to send junk to any address they could think of by trying various combinations of words found in the dictionary.

The telephone-based survey of 1,421 Internet users was conducted Jan. 13 to Feb. 9 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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