Mysterious MSN Live Messenger Contact Spam

Do you talk to robots? If you use an Instant Messenger like Microsoft’s Live Messenger, you’ve probably been contacted by a spam robot by now. There are several ways to get spam on Messenger, and I’ll tell you about the two ways I see the most, so you know what’s going on when it happens to you.

  • One way is for a new contact to request you add them to your contact list. In Live Messenger, people can’t talk to you until you approve them as a “contact”, and add them to your list once they add your email to their list. How’d the spammer get your email address? Well, you could have been phished (given your address to a website pretending to do something you want, while it really steals it so you can be spammed), harvested (a spammer got a hold of an email with your address in the CC line or you may have posted your address in a public space online), or your address was guessed in a dictionary search. In any case, do not add the person to your contact list, block them, and report them to Microsoft as a spammer (which is an option in the new Live Messenger version).

    If you mistakenly add a spammer to your contact list, don’t panic, you’ll be fine. My friend did it once to see what the spam was about. He ended up talking with a chat-bot. The idea of the spammer is to get you to click on links to their website with expensive junk for sale. The bot (computer pretending to be a human) tries to convince you that they’re telling you a great secret deal, and isn’t a black market automaton.

  • The second way you end up with spam in your messenger is when a contact of yours gets their password phished (stolen through trickery on a fake or unscrupulous website). Once a spammer steals the password to a Hotmail (Live) account, they can send instant messages to everyone on the contact list. This problem is not unique to email passwords. It happens to Facebook and Twitter accounts too. You should be especially leery of unexpected messages from contacts that contain any sort of link. Do not click the link. Ask your friend what link they sent you. Most of the time they won’t know what you mean, and that will confirm that the link was sent without their knowledge by a virus or a password thief.

8 responses to “Mysterious MSN Live Messenger Contact Spam

  1. I got an add a few weeks back which I accepted, and pretty quick realized was indeed a bot. I removed and blocked it, which was all good. However, ever since then I’ve been having a new friend add request waiting for me each time I log in. It’s very annoying having to block them all, and I don’t know how to get rid of this pest. Searching the web for clues only gave me this one article – what to do?

  2. I’m not positive, but ditching the address, and picking a new one that has lots of numbers in it, may prevent spammers from guessing your new address to try and add on MSN. However, as soon as you email a friend who is infected with spyware, you’re back on the lists. Basically, there’s nothing to do but to keep deleting the spam until MSN finds a way to block the bots.

  3. One way is to scrap MSN Messenger all together, not as if any one uses it nowadays anyway. It is now officially a “Has Bin”. Goodbye MSN, Hello Facebook. – Join over 300,000,000 users online.

  4. I have one of those spammers thats infested and has been sending everyone on my lists. are any of the messengers immune such as google talk or the ones that will do all your messengers in one software?…something has to work ….does anything work so that you can use your msn but not get this whole spam thing happening?

  5. Tammy, you could use DarkInvader’s idea and message on Facebook only, which has less contact spam at this point.

    “I have one of those spammers thats infested,” is not grammatically/technically possible/correct, so I’m not sure what you mean.

    If someone is spamming your friends and claiming it’s you in an email, they may have taken all of your addresses from a chain email where you were CCed instead of BCCed. There’s no way to get your address off their list.

    Or they perhaps took your password and send directly from your account; if that’s the case you should change your password and check your computer for spyware and viruses with Microsoft Security Essentials which is free.

    Trillian or GAIM/Pidgin messengers may deal with spammed contact requests in a better way than MSN/Live does. I’ve not tried them to see.

    I get no add-contact spam on google talk, but that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen.

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  8. Actually there is another way. I and others continue to get spam from people *NOT* on our contact lists and with the 2011 version of messenger we can no longer block!