Don’t Become a Victim of Social Engineering

NEVER give sensitive information to anyone unless you are sure that they are indeed who they claim to be and that they should have access to the information.

What is a social engineer? A social engineer is a criminal that uses social channels (phone, email, text, twitter, or facebook) to trick you to gain access to your personal and confidential information like your social security number, account numbers and passwords. He or she asks questions, which they are able to piece together to get enough information to infiltrate your personal computer and/or professional network.

Online social engineering scams can be an email message that asks you to open the attachment, which contains malware that will “capture” your passwords and other confidential information or it can be an email message that looks like it comes from a trusted source like your bank or credit card company. Offline social engineering could be a phone call from someone posing as a representative from your bank or credit card company. A social engineer is often just one part of a larger criminal activity. They will use multiple channels of communication and activities to harvest your confidential information.

How do you avoid being a victim?
8 simple tips to avoid being a victim of social engineering provided by The US Department of Homeland Security

1. Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
2. Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
3. Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
4. Don’t send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website’s security.
5. Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
6. If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information.
7. Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.
8. Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.

If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.

If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account.

Immediately change any passwords you might have revealed. If you used the same password for multiple resources, make sure to change it for each account, and do not use that password in the future.

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