Recently a user forwarded an email to me that appears to be a phishing scam. The term phishing refers to the practice of trying to get information from people by tricking them with emails and websites that usually appear to be a reputable company, such as in this case Skype.

The following email is what they received (with the links X’d out):

“New Version Of Skype Has Been Released

This is to notify that new updates have been released for Skype.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Following are major new features :

* Up to 5-way group video call.
* Redesigned calling experience.
* Improved video snapshots gallery.
* Improved browser plugins performance on some websites.
* Reduced false positives on browser plugin phone number recognition.
* New presence icons.
* Improved handling of calling attempts made when the user has run out of credit.
* Improved access to sharing functionality

To download the latest version , go to : 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Start downloading the update right now and let us know what you think about it.

We’re working on making Skype better all the time !

Talk soon,

The people at Skype”

The user happened to be just trying to do a conference call and when they saw this email, and almost fell for it. Luckily they forwarded it to me for verification first. How can we tell when something is a scam like this? Here are some indications that are clues. These are not hard and fast rules, but good indications it is a scam:

1. It doesn’t come from an email that has the actual domain “skype.com” It is actually something with the word “skype” in it, but it’s a different domain.

2. The links that are presented are not actual skype.com links either. They may be domains with the word skype in them, but they are not skype.com. Often the links don’t show the link at all, it’s just a text link like “click here.”

3.  This email has no graphics in it. Usually big companies use graphics when they send out a piece of advertising. They often have fancy advertising departments that make the emails look pretty and professional. This one was not.

4. The email has a link and then if you are unfortunate enough to fall for clicking on it, the site you go to requires that you fill out some information. The address of the site does not end in “skype.com”

If you see an email like this and are intrigued, you should probably just go to your search engine and go directly to the Skype site and see if there is indeed a new version of Skype with these features. Or contact them directly and ask. Then you will be sure to be talking to the actual company.

Now it can be very easy to fall for these things. I have fallen for them. If you do fall for one and realize it after you have put in your username and password of a legitimate service into an illegitimate website, you will have to change your password on the actual site immediately, then call that service and alert them. If, God forbid, you put your credit card information into this site, you should cancel your credit card and have them issue you a new one.

I hope this helps!

 

 

 

 

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