Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anti-Fraud Scheme of SkypeOut

You should be aware of some of the antifraud restrictions Skype has put in place for new SkypeOut subscribers. The first three months as a SkypeOut subscriber are a probationary period in which the following restrictions apply:
  • You will only be able to add to your SkypeOut credit balance if it falls below 5 ($6), or 50% of your initial purchase.
  • If you pay by credit card, you will be limited to buying a total of 20 ($24) SkypeOut credits per month.
  • If you pay using PayPal, your limit will be 30 ($36) per month.
  • Using other payment methods, you are limited to 100 ($120) per month.
After three months, the restrictions are lifted. However, there is another restriction that never goes away: once you use a payment method (for example, a credit card or PayPal account) for one Skype account name, it cannot be used for any other Skype name. If you try to use that same credit card or online account to buy SkypeOut credits or other services for another Skype username, payment will be rejected. You can have several alternative payment methods for a single Skype account; it’s just that those same payment methods cannot thereafter be used for any other Skype account.

Getting SkypeOut

The easiest way to become a SkypeOut subscriber is to click on the My Account tab of the Notification Bar in the Skype softphone. This displays a group of links, including one for SkypeOut, as shown in the following figure. Click on the link for SkypeOut. This opens a browser window in which you are asked to sign in to your Skype account using the same user name and password that you use to sign in to the Skype softphone. After you’ve signed in you will be presented with a web page giving an overview of youraccount. Click on the link Buy Skype Credit. As a new Skype user your only option, using the Buy this button, is to buy 10 ($12) of credit to activate SkypeOut and provide some initial call time.
After clicking on the Buy this button for 10 ($12) of SkypeOut credit, you are asked to verify some information, including your e-mail address and Skype password. You must also select a preferred currency for payment purposes. Finally, you must agree to Skype’s terms of service and click the Submit button.
Skype will process your order and send a confirmation code—normally within just a few minutes—to the e-mail address you provided. Enter this confirmation code into the current web page, and then click the Submit Confirmation Code button. Make sure your preferred currency is shown, and then click the Buy this button. This takes you to a web page form that asks for your name and billing address. Fill in the form with your details. There are two buttons at the bottom of this form. The first is labeled Save and Use It Now, and the second is labeled Use This Address Only Once. If you plan to buy more SkypeOut credits in the future, click Save and Use This Now. By this time you must be wondering whether there’s an end to this process! The registration process has been set up to combat fraud and, fortunately, you only have to go through it once. So, hang in there—you’re almost done!
At this point you should be at the payment method page. Pick your preferred method of payment and click the Continue button. This takes you to the appropriate web page, operated by one of several financial institutions that process payments for Skype, based on your chosen method of payment.
Follow the instructions for your chosen payment method. After your payment is processed, you should see that SkypeOut has been activated and your account balance shown in the following figure. You are ready to start using Skype to call regular and mobile phones!

Testing Skype Video

When testing Skype video, you should first test your webcam to make sure it works. You can then call someone who has a webcam and who is willing to speak with you.
To test your webcam, click on the Test Webcam button in Skype video settings. This should open a window that, if all is working properly, shows your video image, as in the following figure. Clicking on the button labeled Webcam Settings displays a window that enables you to make adjustments (brightness, contrast, and so on) to the settings of your webcam. Change these settings to optimize your video image.
To run a full-blown test of Skype video, you’ll need to find someone—either in your contacts list, or in the general Skype community—who has a webcam set up for Skype and is willing to have a video call with you. If you’re completely new to Skype and don’t know anyone who uses Skype Video, you can try to find someone in Skype-Me! mode who is willing to speak and video with you. People in Skype-Me! mode typically welcome unknown callers, and such people can be found using Skype search (click on the Search button on the toolbar), or by visiting the Skype forums at and scrolling down to the Skype-Me! listing.