Social Engineering: the use of deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes.
Every couple of weeks I get a panic call a friend that their computer has been hacked. Normally what precipitates this is a random phone call, be it from Microsoft or even your bank.
The caller sounds serious.
Someone’s hacked your computer.
Someone’s hacked your bank account.
I need your information to help stop it.
Please, please, please… if you get one of these calls, or if you have older family members, give them this short piece of advice.
HANG UP THE PHONE. Caller ID can be faked, and people lie.
Step 2? Call your bank directly and have them check your account.
If you have a friend who is good with computers, and that you trust, have them give your computer a good once over. I’ve only ever gotten one call from a bank I use which asked for this information. I asked for their information, including extension. I then hung up and called the bank’s phone number on the back of my card. Using the provided extension, I got that person back on the line and continued the conversation.
No actual bank representative will take issue with you hanging up to call them back at the customer service number on the back of your card, or the main bank telephone number.
If Microsoft or some other technology company calls about your computer being a problem, they’re likely lying too. Hang up. If your computer is really causing a problem, your ISP will shut down your Internet connection and wait for you to call and complain.