Broker Check

How can I avoid becoming a victim of a social engineering scam?

March 23, 2020
Share |

Imagine that you receive an email with an urgent message asking you to verify your banking information by clicking on a link. Or perhaps you get an enticing text message claiming that you've won a free vacation to the destination of your choice — all you have to do is click on a link you were sent. In both scenarios, clicking on the link can accidentally result in revealing your sensitive personal and financial information to a cybercriminal.

In a social engineering scam, a cybercriminal psychologically manipulates victims into divulging sensitive information. Cybercriminals "engineer" believable scenarios designed to evoke an emotional response (curiosity, fear, empathy, or excitement) from their victims. As a result, people often react without thinking first due to curiosity or concern about the message that was sent. Since social engineering scams appear in many forms and appeal to a variety of emotions, they can be especially difficult to identify.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from a social engineering scam:

  • If you receive a message conveying a sense of urgency, slow down and read it carefully before reacting. Don't click on suspicious or unfamiliar links in emails, text messages, and instant messaging services.
  • Never download email attachments unless you can verify that the sender is legitimate. Similarly, don't send money to an email that requests charitable help unless you can follow up directly with the organization.
  • Be wary of unsolicited messages. If you get an email or a text that asks you for financial information or passwords, do not reply, delete it.
  • Remember that social engineering scams can also be used over the phone. Use healthy skepticism when you receive phone calls that demand money or request sensitive personal and financial information.

 

 

**PLEASE NOTE: The information above being provided is strictly as a courtesy. When you link to any of the sites provided here, you are leaving this site. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these web sites. Nor is the company liable for any direct or indirect technical or system issues or any consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies, web sites, information and programs made available through this web site. When you access one of these web sites, you are leaving our web site and assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the web sites you are linking to.  Registered Representative offering securities through First Allied Securities, Inc. A Registered Broker/Dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC).  Advisory services offered through Guidant Planning, Inc. and First Allied Advisory Services, Inc. Both Registered Investment Advisers.  Guidant Planning, Inc. is not affiliated with First Allied Securities, Inc. and/or First Allied Advisory Services, Inc.  Allen G. Yee CFP® CWS®, CA Insurance License #0747874