Microsoft has warned users of its Hotmail service to disregard an email in circulation that instructs them to forward it to all Hotmail users they know.
The message, purportedly from someone called Jon Henerd of the "Hotmail administrative department", said that Hotmail was running low on resources due to "the sudden rush of people signing up" and that it needed to remove inactive accounts.
It also said that anyone who doesn't receive the message with the exact subject heading will be deleted from Hotmail's servers.
The author went on to "inform" users that the free Web-based email service was overloading and the company needed to "get rid of some people," and that it was currently trying to find out which users are actually using their accounts.
"So, if you're using your account, please pass this email to every Hotmail user that you can and you if you don't pass this letter to anyone, we will delete your account," the message ended.
Official word from MSN Malaysia's country manager, Niko Walraven, was that the company was aware of the hoax email.
Microsoft's MSN Internet runs the Hotmail service.
"MSN takes its customers and its products very seriously. If we ever need to contact our member base, we'll do so directly; unlike this recent email hoax, which relies on customers forwarding the mail," he told In.Tech.
"MSN provides free email service to more than 110 million users worldwide and wants to ensure our customers that we do not condone spamming," he added.
Hotmail upgraded its services last month to include, among other features, more stringent junk-mail filtering.
The new system allows users to either maintain their old settings or choose to only receive email from people in their address books.
Other changes include cosmetic work done on Hotmail's Web interface and the introduction of tabs, similar to the MSN Explorer interface.
The upgrade also added two new language options, Swedish and Dutch, bringing the total number of languages supported in Hotmail to 12.
Previously, the website offered only simplified and traditional Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.
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