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Social Engineering and Phishing NW

Alert message sent 04/07/2021 17:25:00

Information sent on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch


This message is from Val McPherson Area Representative for Aylesbury Vale and Vice Chair of Princes Risborough and District NW Association.

I received the below information from another area and I thought as it applies everywhere I would share so everyone is warned on this topic.

Social Engineering is defined as, “the artificial controlling or changing of how a society develops…attempts to trick people into giving secret or personal information, especially on the internet, and using it for harmful purposes”.

Social Engineering underpins most phishing attempts, be it email (Phishing), scam text message (Smishing) or scam phone call (Vishing), whereby the sender or caller will try to get you to divulge sensitive info to use against you and steal your money.
E.g. an SMS requesting you pay £1.99 to reschedule a delivery. Later, you receive a call purporting to be from your bank (Remember number Spoofing?) stating that you have been a victim of fraud. You have indeed been a victim, and so you believe this call to be genuine because how else would they know?
This is Social Engineering 101 – Basing lies on truth.

So, you do what they say and move your money. During this call, they extract further information from you; once you have been scammed once, you become a much easier target next time.
Regardless of the type of scam or it’s complexities, Social Engineering can be boiled down to;

1. Appealing to your emotions. Make you fear losing money/assets, or trouble with the authorities. They may also play on your desire to be a good citizen by complying with requests.

2. Leveraging urgencyPressure you to part with your funds sooner rather than later. They may refer to an ‘ongoing investigation’ or ‘threat of arrest’ to try and scare you into acting now.

3. Leveraging authority. Impersonating a person of authority, often police, a senior investigator, HMRC or bank fraud teams, engineered to make you do what they say.

They may leverage a recent calendar event to increase their chance of success. Such as the end of the tax year, changes in TV licensing rules, the census (threatening fines for non-completion), Covid vaccinations, among others.

Don’t let them socially engineer you!
Message sent by
Val McPherson BEM (NWN, Multi Scheme Administrator, Thames Valley)

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