Technology: You've Got Spim!

Junk instant messages are on the rise

Knock-knock from coolkid6492," read the headline on an AOL instant message (IM) window that popped up on my computer screen at 3:42 p.m. last Tuesday. "Hey, I'm a 19/f/Ca. Wanna come check me out?" I had a pretty good idea of what Coolkid had in mind. But just to make sure, I clicked on the Web link embedded in the IM and was promptly directed to an X-rated website, where I was invited to pay "just $1 a month" to watch women get naked in front of a webcam.

If you've been receiving more and more instant messages like this, you're...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!