Social Engineering

Becoming Cyber-Mindful

Social Engineering: Scams Galore

Social engineering is any act of deception, trickery, fraud, or manipulation intended to gain your trust and compliance. Social engineering uses inside information or personalized approaches often with an element of urgency to persuade you to take action. Common forms of social engineering:

  • phishing
  • check cashing scams
  • phone scams
  • tech support scams
  • malware

The Federal Trade Commission maintains information on current scams >>

Whether you are online shopping, job hunting, online dating, or just talking with friends, you are a target for internet fraud. With as many variations as there are perpetrators, internet scams are a thriving money maker for criminals. It’s up to us to know the warning signs and to be on the look out for the tricks used to get us to part with our personal information or account access.

This page reviews just a sampling of the kinds of social engineering threats on the internet that may be especially relevant to students and the university community:

Hiring Fraud

As with any scam, there are warning signs to look for if you are searching for a job:

  • If something feels “too good to be true”, be suspicious. “Make $300 in a day from home”These are typical tactics a scammer will use to lure you in. The best protection is to be suspicious if anything is “too good to be true.” If an employer is making promises that no one has ever made before – it’s possible that they just want to lure you in to steal your resume information or scam you.
  • Never cash a check for, or give any money to, an employer, someone you meet online, or someone selling. A common technique of Internet job scammers is to ask you to cash a check at a bank, and then return some of that money to the employer while you get to keep some of the cash for yourself. This is a scam. No reputable employer will require you to pay for anything on your own, or cash a check on their behalf, before starting your job. If you receive any email asking you to do anything remotely like this, flag the employer immediately within Handshake and contact UDit or Career Services.
  • Question if an employer says they’re hiring you based on resume alone. Any reputable employer normally requires an interview (and more) before hiring. If you have any questions or concerns, flag the employer and Handshake will investigate.
  • On-the spot hiring: If an employer doesn’t require a resume or offers on-the spot employment, consider this suspicious.

Read more tips to spot hiring fraud: