What is social engineering?

Social engineering describes a number of low-tech approaches designed by fraudsters to make you divulge valuable private information or engage in activities that leave your computer vulnerable to attack. This can happen either online or in person.

In the case of online techniques, you may be approached online by someone you do not know but who seems friendly and interested in you – most often they appear to be an attractive young woman, or perhaps they may claim to work for Skype’s support team. They will issue a contact request. Once you have accepted this, they can then send you messages.

In reality, these contacts are scammers and often they are not even human, but simply programs (“bots”) with a limited number of “lines” in their script, searching for people to spam or defraud.

Online techniques include sending:

  • Instant messages trying to trick you into visiting websites or downloading files which contain viruses or spyware that compromises your security.
  • Unwanted instant messages selling unsolicited services or products (“spam”).
  • Instant messages, files, and links containing inappropriate or offensive content which breaks the Terms of Use.

If you find you have shared contact details with someone like this and you want to get rid of them, you can block the user from further contact with you and also report them for abuse.

In person techniques include:

  • “Shoulder surfing” (looking over your shoulder and observing your details when you enter them), when you use your PC in public.
  • Taking over a computer if you have not logged out or closed your session properly. The next user can pretend to be you and if your personal details are still on the machine they can access them.

If you think that you have been persuaded by anyone to part with payment details then contact your bank or card issuer immediately.

If you think you might have been a victim of any of these techniques and your Skype name and password could be compromised, then change your password as soon as possible. If you are not able to do this and the account is taken over, then please contact us immediately.
 

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