Being open on Skype has its risks

I’m a believer in Skype, the internet phone service that has on average about half a million people online at any one moment.

I started using Skype in July. Calling other Skype users is totally free, which means I can chat with Skyped friends and family in places as far apart as the US, Costa Rica and Australia and save a small fortune on my phone bill. Calling normal telephones from Skype (land lines or mobile phones) costs, but considerably less than using a normal phone. Voice quality, in my experience, is consistently excellent (except when speaking with anyone on a normal phone in Costa Rica, for some reason: maybe the public phone system there is the problem).

So I’m generally pleased with the Skype phone service and would recommend it to anybody.

Skype is also an instant messenger where you can connect with other Skype users and text chat. Very similar to Windows Messenger and other services like Yahoo.

This is where I’m not so keen.

During the past week, I’ve started getting text messages from people I don’t know at odd hours of the day or night. That’s fine as I’m usually quite happy to chat with anyone who call or texts if I’m shown as being online. But these messages are a mixture of people trying to sell me some multi-level marketing deal, an amazing investment or telling me the addresses to go to to access net porn.

Definitely a risk to think about if you’re a parent and your kids have Skype accounts.

I stopped using Windows Messenger a year ago because of the constant interruption from unsolicited text messages from people I know. Now, I’m getting stuff from people I don’t know. I have my Skype profile pretty open and there’s a Skype me’ button on my blog, so my Skype ID is easy to find. I don’t have any restrictions set in my profile, meaning anyone can call or text me.

I guess I should be thankful that I’ve managed to survive nearly two months in this state. I am considering restricting Skype test messaging only for people in my contact list. Hopefully, I won’t start getting sales phone calls next.

(Written with ecto and directly published live.)

3 thoughts on “Being open on Skype has its risks

  1. Hi Neville,
    It is possible to block incoming calls and messages from unknown sources (i.e. people not on your contact list). That is what I do. I use Skype to contact people I know, not to make new contacts, so I switched on the blocking possibility.

  2. Skype’s not right.
    How many other VoIP users can you call with Skype.
    Imagine buying a Panasonic phone and you plug it in, to find that you can only call other people with Panasonic phones.

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