Social Engineering is the practice of manipulating people into providing personal information such as passwords, mother’s maiden name, and bank information to be used for malicious purposes.
In most cases, this is done by obtaining unauthorized access to someone’s account and e-mailing all of their contacts.
The Cry For Help:
If you are a contact of the person who was hacked, you might receive strange e-mails with Urgent titles:
“I was mugged while in Istanbul and am in the hospital. I need your help!” or “Help! I’m stuck in Canada but don’t have enough money to get home!”
Curiosity Driven Titles:
Social Engineers will also try to appeal to your sense of curiosity: “Check out this video of the Pope dancing!”. An E-mail like this might contain a malicious link or prompt you to download a malicious file.
E-mailing tends to be the most common form of this tactic but isn’t the only one. Scammers may infiltrate the user’s e-mail, personal contacts, AND social media and use this to their advantage.
This means it is possible for the criminal party to use the same trust-gaining tactics when sending a Facebook message, text, or posting a comment on your social media page.
Those who have less experience with the internet tend to fall for these tricks and willingly send money, or provide personal information to the scammers.
If you are receiving such contacts and are unsure if they are who they say they are: Call Them. It will be the quickest way to discern a scam from a real e-mail and will tell the victim that they’ve been hacked and need to change passwords.