Fraud guide

Social engineering

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is the way fraudsters manipulate people so that they hand over personal information. The aim of fraudsters is to trick people into giving them passwords, bank information and even install harmful software on your computer.

Get wise to refund scams

One example of social engineering is where criminals convince you to approve payments you didn’t make by tricking you into sharing information to action a fake refund. Watch our video showing how this can happen so that you know what to look out for.

Things to look out for with social engineering

Suspiciously tempting offers

Scammers appeal to people's interest in a bargain or free item. They'll often ask for your bank details to send an item that never arrives.

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Direct messages on social media

Fraudsters can hack into your friends accounts pretending to be them and attempt to take personal information from you.

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Emails, attachments and text messages

Aimed at creating a sense of urgency, curiosity or fear. Fraudsters then ask you to reveal sensitive information by clicking on links to malicious websites, or opening attachments that contain malware.

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Impersonating people with authority

Fraudsters usually starts by building trust with you pretending to be a co-worker, police, bank and even HMRC, asking you to confirm your identity. Through which they take your personal data.

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Being told your device is infected with malware

This could be a call, text and even popup banners appearing on websites, being prompted to install software containing malware that can be used to steel your personal data.

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Other forms of social engineering

Telephone fraud

Known as vishing, it's one of the most common types of fraud. Calls look genuine, and the caller might have some of your details already.

Text message fraud

The fraudster sends you a text that tries to trick you into giving away personal and security information.

Email fraud

This is when you receive emails pretending to be from a trusted source, that ask you to give away personal or private information.

Easy steps to protect yourself

  1. 01

    Don't open emails or attachments you feel might be suspicious. If you don't know the sender, check and confirm they're legitimate with a quick Google search.

  2. 02

    Keep your antivirus/antimalware software updated. Check to make sure that the updates have been applied, and scan your system for possible infections.

  3. 03

    If you receive anything asking for passwords or financial information, check with the company. If the message was from a friend, give them a call to confirm it was actually them.

  4. 04

    If what they're offering seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Exercise caution when it comes to bargains.

More like this

Identity theft

Fraudsters get hold of enough personal information about you in order to impersonate you.

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Pension scams

Targeting those who have access to their pension. People are encouraged to move their funds with the promise of better returns, the funds are usually stolen.

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Security centre

Our hub for all things fraud and scam related. Find out the latest trends

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