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Skype & Internet Calls

Voice over IP (VoIP) or internet telephony services are very inexpensive and convenient. They use Internet Protocol (IP) to transmit calls – in other words using your internet connection.

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  • Be careful about requests for you to be a contact, and what other people invite you to do.

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Maintain privacy and avoid identity theft or fraud.

Preventing Identity Theft
Your identity is precious. Keep it that way with a few simple precautions.


There are three main types of VoIP service:

  • Basic, where you simply plug a standard phone handset, headset or microphone and speakers into your VoIP-configured wireless hub to make low-cost internet calls.
  • Managed, where a company provides you with a local telephone number and you can receive as well as make calls.
  • Skype, which also enables users to invite and form contacts, create profiles, make video calls and share files.

As is the case with other internet-based services, you need to take care with how you use VoIP.  

The Risks

  • There is a slight risk of eavesdropping because VoIP works over public internet connections. However, the risk is lower than that of using a conventional landline, which can be easily snooped on.
  • If you are using VoIP for making calls between three or more people where the dialup and access details are pre-arranged, anybody who can access these details (for example by seeing the email) can also gain access to your call. 
  • Fraudsters can request that you be their Skype contact in order to:
    • Call or instant message you to perpetrate a scam or fraud, normally by getting you to visit a fraudulent website or download a malicious file containing a virus or spyware.
    • Access personal details on your profile and use them dishonestly. 
    • Share files or direct you to websites containing inappropriate or offensive content.

Safe Use of VoIP / Skype

  • If accessing your VoIP service requires you to use a password, ensure you use strong passwords, and do not disclose them to anyone else.
  • If your service includes a public profile, don’t put any sensitive, private or confidential information in it.
  • When using Skype, be wary about whom you accept contact requests from. Set up your service to allow connections only from people you know.
  • Quickly block nuisance and fraudulent users from further contact with you and also report them for abuse.
  • If you think that you have been persuaded by anyone to part with payment details, contact your bank or card issuer immediately. 
  • Check regularly with your VoIP website for updates or patches.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running. 
  • Always log out of your VoIP service when you have finished your call. Simply closing your browser may not automatically finish your session.
  • Be aware that VoIP use depends on having mains power. If there is a power cut or other problem with the equipment, you will not be able to make calls, including emergency calls. If accessing your VoIP service requires you to use a password, ensure you use strong passwords, and do not disclose them to anyone else.

More information

Skype’s guide to managing your privacy settings