Smart people are scammed every day because they think it can’t happen to them or they just aren’t aware of the scams. And the scammers have gotten very good at disguising their scams, so it’s often hard to recognize them.
Scamming generally involves a form of social engineering. Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. It relies on human interactions, such as trying to gain confidence of someone through trickery or deception for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or device access. This can take many forms, both online and offline.
Smart criminal hackers use social engineering as a very effective tool and as a part of their strategy when gathering information to piece together the parts of their scams. In my opinion, it’s just a fancier, more technical form of lying.
Social engineering has always been a “person-to-person” confidence crime. Once the scammer gains your trust, they use this information against you in the hopes of gaining access to your finances.
Be confident in your ability to outsmart the bad guys. Here’s five things you should know:
Don’t click links in emails, text messages, chat. Any link, whether shortened or not, can point to somewhere it shouldn’t. If you need to click on the link, make sure you have security software installed that will block you from automatically being directed to a malicious site.
Be wary of multiple recipients and who the email is from. If the email is going to you and a dozen other people, or it’s from your bank but the from email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org, then you should be suspicious.
Note generic/spammy/nonexistent subject lines. Look in your spam folders. There are some pretty ridiculous subject lines, right? If something like that shows up in your inbox, delete it.
Down with scammer grammar. If it is SPELD rong or IN ALL CAPs or ,has ,those ,stupid ,commas in the wrong ,place, it’s a scam.
Urgency or ridiculous requests. There is no hurry; you didn’t win anything and your uncle from Latvia didn’t leave you any money. Just delete ‘em.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! (Disclosures)
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
- Hackers Play "Social Engineering Capture The Flag" At Defcon
Social engineering is a fancier, more technical form of lying. An alternative to traditional hacking, it is the act of manipulating others into performing certain actions or divulging confidential information. Social engineering or “social penetration” techniques are used to bypass sophisticated and expensive hardware and software in a corporate network. Smart organizations train their employees
- Toddler Used As Decoy in Burglaries
A confidence trick or confidence game (also known as a bunko, con, flim flam, gaffle, grift, hustle, scam, scheme, swindle or bamboozle) is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. The victim is known as the mark, the trickster is called a confidence man, con man, confidence trickster, or con artist, and any accomplices are known as shills. Confidence men or women exploit human characteristics such as greed and dishonesty, and have victimized individuals from all walks
- Protect Yourself from Social Engineering
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. While similar to a confidence trick or simple fraud, the term typically applies to trickery or deception for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or computer system access; in most cases the attacker never comes face-to-face
- Protect From Holiday Phishing Shipping Scams
A common holiday shipping phishing scam is a phony notice from UPS, saying you have a package and need to fill out an attached form to get it delivered. The form may ask for personal or financial details that will go straight into the hands of the cyberscammer. Often the email asks to download a
- 419 Scams Double, Over $9 Billion in Profits
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert A recent study by Dutch investigation firm Ultrascan shows we are half as smart (or twice as dumb) as we were in 2008 as advanced fee scams doubled in losses to over $9 billion. 419 Advance Fee Fraud Statistics 2009 (PDF) It is believed that while the scams are known to be