A typical Skype scam attempt by a spam bot

A typical Skype scam attempt by a spam bot

Skype scams have been around for ages. With technology constantly evolving, one would think that chat bots get a little more convincing too. As it so happens I recently got a contact request from a nice young lady that had something very special to offer.

I thought, OK, let’s play it through once and take some screenshots of the conversation:

 

Complete chat dialog with a scam-chatbot on Skype

Complete chat dialog with a scam-chatbot on Skype

 

This is how it works

Obviously, Katrina Kauffman is not a real woman (or even a man), but an automated program. At this point it is unclear if the bot hijacked someone’s personal Skype account by hacking their password or if the user account was just created to fool people.

The only purpose of the bot is to convince people to provide their credit card information on a fraudulent website. The shorturl leads to a fake adult entertainment website where you are supposed to sign up to see more.

Scammer website that tries to steal your credit card information

Scammer website that tries to steal your credit card information

 

Example 2

Just a few weeks later I have received another contact request from a lady called “dear.churchill”. It was obviously a scam bot too and looked like it was made by the same people that were behind the first one. The only ‘improvement’ I could notice was that the new version also had a proper profile image set.

The full Skype scam conversation with a bot-script.

The full Skype scam conversation with a bot-script.

 

This poor girl maybe doesn't even know that her pictures are mis-used for scamming

This poor girl maybe doesn’t even know that her pictures are mis-used for scamming

 

Of course, this website requires your credit card detaily ONLY for age verification. Who still believes that?

Of course, this website requires your credit card detaily ONLY for age verification. Who still believes that?

 

How to recognize a scam-chat-bot?

  1. Ask any question. In the case above, the bot ignored what I was writing or asking and just kept sending me messages, trying to convince me to sign up and pay.
  2. Watch for behavior patterns. This bot didn’t just run a series of plain messages. It always waited for me to say something first, then posted a message back after exactly 30 seconds. When I paused, the bot paused too. When I typed more, the bot replied more.

What to do now?

If you think you have already fallen for a (suspected) Skype or credit card scam, contact your bank or credit card provider as soon as possible and ask them to cancel your card immediately. Otherwise scammers could use your credit card for purchasing goods on the Internet (or worse) and you’ll end up with a pile of debt – or even be at risk of criminal conviction.

 

  • Kenaston Akridge

    Does Microsoft actually do anything about this?

    I deleted my Skype because of these annoying things.

    • stroke33

      Don’t think so!
      You did the right thing.
      I hate debt’s and therefore I don’t have creditcard’s!

  • Geri Faust

    I keep getting messages from the same five “men” – funny – they are all admirals, Colonels or Doctors. They use different variations of a name, sometimes it might be Dr. Mark something or next time it might be Adm. John Mark, etc. I keep blocking them or reporting them as Spam, but they always manage to come back on. I just decline and mark block or spam. It is very annoying and Skype tells me there is nothing they can do.

  • WICheesehead98

    I have fun with the robo voice recognition calls. Just ask “her” what color the moon is tonight…stump her every time.

    • Jason Cataldo

      wait, you are getting “calls” from a robotic voice now? hmmm, I wonder where that is from?

  • Milo

    I get people constantly wanting me to add their name to my contact list. I often wonder how they get my name and skype number. I usually delete and block the request. (Partly I do this, cause I would start a Skype conversation with: ‘Hi ya honey, I’m naked, wanna get it on.” And what if it was a real Nigerian Prince/Princes–the diplomatic scandal and what not?)

  • Marco G

    Will this website be added to emsisofts phishing datebase.

  • KaS

    Thanks for blogging this. This is excellent. I get plenty of Skype friend requests and I always deny them as I don’t know them and know they are scammers but never knew exactly how they worked. I did enjoy reading this and think it is excellent for educating others. I work with mentally disabled people who are very susceptible to scammers and one guy in particular believed that these emails he was getting trying to get him to sign up on a dating site were real women interested in him even though they were ads to get you to sign up. I feel bad for the vulnerable. People will say that “stupid people deserve what they get” completely disregarding those who cannot help not knowing better.

  • Jason Cataldo

    These aren’t hackers trying to steal your credit card information, they are affiliates running poorly executed marketing ploys.