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Spammers using MSN for ID theft

Instant messaging sidesteps spam filters

Spammers are using "flirtatious" MSN conversations in an attempt to sidestep spam filters and trick web users into divulging financial details, according to Sophos.

The security firm says scammers are inviting people via email to have a conversation on MSN, before asking them to join an adult website. The email contains an MSN address which starts a computer generated conversation.

Early in the conversation users are offered free passes to a webcam in order to see the person they are having the conversation with. However, the scammers then demand web surfers supply their credit card details as proof of age to gain access to the site.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said the trick could prove successful as people are happy to talk to strangers over the internet.

"Talking to strangers can be dangerous on the net, but many people do it. So it's actually quite likely that this scam could be successful," said Cluley. "Engaging victims in playful and flirtatious chat like this is a sure fire way to hook people in and entice them to part with sensitive information.

Cluley said everyone should be wary of unsolicited e-mails, whether or not they seem like harmless fun.

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