Now we get spam on Skype too

Skype fight voice spam 'vishing' (or voice phishing) Spam, and people trying to do the wrong thing are everywhere! I was at a client’s this week when she received an incoming Skype call from “Urgent Update”. It was a recorded message starting to tell her that there was a security problem… We hung up!

They call it ‘vishing’ (or voice phishing). Skype will not call you with an automated message asking for your personal details or advising you to change software or visit a website. They have a mechanism in place already to automatically update their software.

The team at Skype are aware of the problem and have some good advice on setting your privacy as well as taking calls from strangers.

Since getting a land line in the UK, I have been amazed at the number of automated voice calls that come through wanting to sell me something – they all start off as “this is an important community announcement…”. I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone would start down this track with Skype. You can set your privacy so that only people on your contact list can call you.

Are you a slave to the telephone?

Are you an unconscious slave of the telephone? Many people will forget everything around them if the phone rings – perhaps, at some level, thinking “it’s the phone it must be important”. I am often amazed when shopping that, even when there is a queue at the counter, the assistant will stop to answer the phone and serve the person on the phone first. Somehow the phone must be answered. You know how uncomfortable an unanswered phone makes some people.

Like most good advice, these tips are simple, and self evident in retrospect:

  • If someone you don’t know calls you unexpectedly then why would you give them any of your details, especially credit card details, or follow instructions they give you?
  • If a deal sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
  • How do I really know that this person who has called is who they say they are? Ask to call them back and use the number from the directory (not a number they provide unless you can confirm it is real)
  • Ask yourself, “If something really is being given away for free then why do they need my credit card for postage… And what’s to stop them using the details for anything else?”

We had that last one when living in Australia, someone rang from the USA (or that’s what they said) and used some quite high pressure sales techniques to convince us to accept some free software – it was when they asked for the credit card number for the postage that we called a halt – and copped some outraged indignation from the sales person. “We are a reputable company!”, they said. This might have been the case but we only had their word for that. In the end we politely said no and hung up the phone because they would not let the call go, having almost gotten us over the line.

Perhaps it was legitimate but then all we lost was a great deal on software that we didn’t ask for, didn’t really want, and didn’t really need. Perhaps what we saved was months of phone calls to the bank trying to get credit card charges reversed or cancelled – we will never know but I sleep well at night 🙂

So be careful, think about what you are doing, and don’t let people on the phone push you around.

Brian
your ‘Peoples Geek’

2 thoughts on “Now we get spam on Skype too”

  1. Brian, If your land line is with BT you can ask them to stop the ‘spam’ calls (not the Pam ones tho) If you then get calls you can tell them that they are breaking the law by calling you..they get off the line quick! (It was one of these calls that resulted in my Dad buying a satellite…….on 2 occasions)

    1. Hi Pam,
      That’s good advice – thank you. There is a similar scheme in Australia where you can ask to be added to a list of ‘do not call’ numbers. There are exceptions like charities that are still allowed to ring and ask for support but it does cut down on the cold call sales people.
      Cheers,
      Brian

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