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What is Social Engineering?

Blog Post
2 min read
Social Engineering on a Computer

Social engineering is a technique used to trick you into providing confidential or sensitive information. That information can then be used to steal money or a person's identity. This is a common tactic and victims of social engineering often do not know they have fallen prey to a scam artist until their money or identity has been taken.

Social engineering techniques include the following:

  • Phishing – sophisticated emails designed to trick you into divulging information and or clicking on a malicious link.  These emails often seem to be too good to be true and or threaten the user with punitive action if they do not respond quickly.  When in doubt, do not click.
  • Baiting – criminals often leave USB devices or other media laying around high traffic areas in the hopes that someone will pick it up and insert it into a computer at home and or work.  These devices contain malicious software designed to infect your device when the USB is inserted into a computer.
  • Vishing – these are sophisticated phone calls asking for information and or threatening you with arrest or some type of punitive action.   

While the means of the social engineering attack may change (emails, baiting, phone calls, or text messages) the goal remains the same for the criminal: to persuade you to provide private information that can be used fraudulently.
Never provide information until you have verified to whom you are speaking. One simple way of doing that is reaching out to us. If someone calls saying they are from SAFE Federal Credit Union and you are suspicious, you can ask for their name and location and hang up the phone. Then you can call us to verify. If you receive an email that seems out of place, you can do the same. 

While SAFE Federal Credit Union sends marketing emails containing current promotions and e-Statement notifications, SAFE Federal Credit Union will never ask for private information in an email.
If you feel comfortable in responding to an email or phone call, you should only provide information that the person might reasonably need. Don’t get pressured into giving out sensitive information. Lastly, someone may make you an offer that is hard to refuse in an attempt to gain your private information. If it seems too good to be true or illogical, just say NO!