The Herald Sun has been caught red-handed trying to entrap Victorian MPs in an unethical and possibly illegal sting operation just days before the state election.

In a scam concocted by executives at the highest levels of the newspaper, Crikey can reveal that reporters, posing as members of the community, contacted Labor, Liberal and Greens members from fake Hotmail accounts in an attempt to snare them in a News of the World-style fit up.