Social Engineering Scams

Social engineering is the art of manipulating a victim into giving up confidential information. Scammers will impersonate your loved ones or play on your emotions in order to get what they want out of you. Cybercriminals will use this tactic because it is easier to exploit your trust, than it is to find ways to decrypt your passwords or devices.

Common Types of Social Engineering

  • Phishing
  • Pretexting
  • Baiting


Phishing is the practice that targets individuals by email, texts, or phone calls by someone who is posing as a representative of a legitimate company, that tries to get the victim to divulge personal information. The stolen information is then used to access important accounts and often times results in identity theft.


Pretexting is the practice of presenting oneself as someone else in order to obtain private information.


Baiting involves offering a victim something that they want. These can include downloads of movies, songs or other forms of media. By downloading these, you may be downloading malware onto your computer.

What do these attacks look like?

  1. Email
    • Emails can come from what looks to be a trusted source in a friend or a well known company. If a cyber criminal is able to hack into an individuals phone, social media accounts or email, they would have access to that persons contact list and will most likely message everyone in the list. Most of these emails will contain a link or a download that will infect your machine with malware if opened.

  2. Offers to download a highly sought after movie, song, or offer.
    • By clicking on one of these offerings, you may be opening up your computer to a malware attack.
  3. Responses to questions that you never asked.
    • Cyber criminals may respond to a request for help that you never inquired about in order to take advantage of your curiosity.
  4. Social Media

If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is.