I really like Skype. In fact, I think it has the best IM client on top of the killer VoIP calling features. So I guess it’s not surprising that spam is invading IM/VoIP. We see lots of web spam being thrown against blogs, wikis, and social networks — and thankfully services like Akismet are effectively zapping it.
So what about IM/VoIP Spam ? I’ve been getting 3-4 mostly Not Safe For Work (NSFW) Skype IM requests per week, with a few casino offers as well, and it seems to be increasing in frequency. Here is a typical looking one I got only a few minutes ago:
It’s not unmanageable right now – you just click “block” and it closes that current spam request. And in fact, I went ahead and changed all my privacy setting in Skype to only allow communication from authorized contacts — so that should help (update: even with all the privacy settings turned on I got another spam IM 😦 ). But it does add an extra layer and potentially makes it harder for people to reach me.
Jim Higdon over at VoIP News suggested the same approach to combat this spam and predicts more problems in the future:
No End in Sight
Given that Skype spam appears to be a widespread trend, there isn’t much any one person can do to stop it, other than blocking the offending user. But that defense is akin to swatting mosquitoes in a swamp: You’ll run out of swat before the swamp runs out of mosquitoes.
You could try using one of these 10 alternatives to Skype. But, if you’d rather stick it out, you might be forced to batten down your Skype hatches and only allow messages from people you know. Go to Preferences > Privacy and set “allow instant messages from” to “only people whom I have authorized to start.” You won’t get any pleasant Skype surprises anymore, but maybe you won’t get any unpleasant surprises either.
And of course, like its complete lack of real-time customer service, Skype has no “report this user” function. So, you Skypers are on your own.