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How to Identify and Avoid New “Phishing” Scams

Your online security is important to Skype. Though no matter how much we do on our end, it’s also essential for you, as a Skype user, to stay vigilant and check the Skype Community if you suspect a scam.

Last year, we published a blog on how to identify and avoid “phishing” scams. In these all-to-common online swindles, fraudsters impersonate trusted services like Skype to trick users into giving away their personal or financial information.

While Skype users are becoming more knowledgeable about phishing scams, the scammers also continue to evolve the ways in which they target their victims. You can say a lot of things about these fraudsters, but they’re not dumb.

Recently we’ve heard about a scam where an email notifies you that “sales@skype.com” or “sales@buyskype.co.uk” has made a charge of 39.00 GBP to your PayPal account. It then directs you to a link where you can supposedly dispute the charge and get a full refund.

Unfortunately, it is a fraudulent page and when you enter your PayPal login, they copy your information and can then withdraw from your bank account. Although this is not a scam within Skype itself, it is using your familiarity with Skype to divulge personal and financial information elsewhere.

Do not trust any suspicious charge emails from PayPal or other sites that involve your financial information.

Even as these phishing scams become more elaborate, they still only succeed by pressuring people into making hurried and unwise decisions.

As identified in last year’s post about phishing, the three golden tips for dealing with scam emails and phishing still hold true:

1. Be immediately suspicious of emails telling you to take urgent action. Fraudsters use this to get you to act before you’ve checked whether the email is genuine.

2. DO NOT open any attachments to the email, reply to the email or click any links in the email.

3. Don’t respond to anyone asking for your Skype password – a Skype representative will never ask you for your Skype password.

Have fun out there, but remember to err on the side of being overly protective of your logins and financial details. If you are unsure of any email that appears to have been sent by Skype, check out the Skype Community’s security and privacy board for a second opinion. You can also send Tweets to @SkypeSupport for help with anything suspicious.

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