Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into doing what you want. In terms of online fraud, a fraudster will usually trick people into disclosing their passwords, log-in details or other confidential information.

Phishing is a process used by fraudsters in an attempt to acquire your confidential information by sending out emails or other kinds of messages that direct you to bogus websites or phone lines. These emails or messages claim to be from a particular company, so they often look legitimate. But these messages are actually sent by fraudsters, often at random. Any information you disclose on these bogus websites or phone lines is captured by the fraudsters.

A trojan is a type of malware (malicious software) that is installed on any internet-enabled device (eg computer, smartphone) without your knowledge or consent. Typically, a fraudster will send you an email that tries to trick you into following a website link, downloading something or opening an attachment. If you take this action, the trojan is installed. Trojans can be capable of recording your passwords and other personal details by capturing your keystrokes or taking screen shots of sites you visit. These details are then sent to a fraudster. Some trojans actually allow a fraudster to shadow your computer sessions, seeing everything you do.

Here are some measures you can take to avoid getting ‘hooked’:

• Be alert to any unexpected e-mail, instant message, voicemail or fax that claims to be from a bank, credit card company, online service or charitable organization with which you have an account or membership

• If you do receive such a message, call the appropriate customer or donor service number (but not any number provided in the message) and verify whether it is legitimate

• Do not respond to any e-mail, phone or fax instructions that prompt you to divulge your personal information

• Do not click on any links in a suspicious e-mail; clicking on such a link may cause the download of key-logging or ‘spyware’ programmes onto your computer

• Use up-to-date anti-virus software – including spam filters and even ‘anti-phishing’ programmes, which are available to help screen out potential phishers on websites and e-mails.
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