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BOSTON – First there was spam. Now there’s spim. Telemarketers, seeking new venues in the wake of the Do Not Call Legislation, now are targeting instant messaging (IM) users with unsolicited offers for free prizes, special discounts and all kinds of things no one asked for, according to The Yankee Group. Called spim, telemarketers are using automated bots and bulk IM programs, similar to that used for sending spam, to go after the 200 million or so homes and businesses that use IM, and that poses a problem for credit unions and other businesses that use IM services for internal and external communications. Besides the threat of downloading viruses and worms, “for many IT managers, the mere possibility that employee IM sessions could be frequently disrupted with intrusive messages makes them reluctant to allow any IM use,” says Paul Ritter, an analyst with the Boston-based research and advisory group.

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