How Identity Thieves Use Social Engineering

by Tashina

In information security, social engineering is a technique used to manipulate people into revealing private information. It is mostly done online rather than by breaking in or using other hacking techniques. Social engineering typically means tricking or deceiving for fraud, system access, or information gathering. In most cases, the victim never comes face-to-face with the hacker. Social engineering is mostly done online or over the phone. Nowadays, more people are falling victim to such attacks. People who are new to technology do not know about hackers are more prone to such attacks.

Identity Theft through Social Engineering

The identity thief manipulates people into giving them private information. The information could be personal like account information, social security numbers, financial details, company’s financial information, or login credentials. Hackers can steal the data if they have the credentials of a protected account. People who are not aware of social engineering tactics do not realize when hackers are extracting information out of them. They only do so when someone steals their money from banks or mobile accounts. Even after such scenarios, people don’t seem to understand right away because it happens with so much precision. There are many ways identity thieves use social engineering. Some of them are:

Phishing email

When the scammer attempts to extract information by disguising as a secure organization or a person you trust. They do it through instant messaging, email, phone calls, and SMS. Most people receive emails that claim to be from a lottery. To receive the money you will have to provide them your bank information along with personal details. People fall for such tactics and end up having empty accounts.


In vishing, the scammer makes a phone call and makes you share financial details, passwords, and account numbers. The hacker might be an imposter and claim to represent your bank or offer to help you with your account.


When you receive a link from a trusted source. It is human instinct to click the link especially if it comes from a trusted source. The scammer can then take over your machine, access your data and contact information – and use it for malicious purposes.


Downloading a file that contains malware can infect the system. When you download something from a suspicious or unauthentic link, the file likely contains malware which can give the hacker access to your private data.

Avoid Being a Victim of Social Engineering

These and many other techniques are making people fall into traps. To avoid such situations you need to be more aware about identity theft and its repercussions. Maintain security on your electronic devices and never share your bank details unless you are sure of the person’s identity. These practices can save you from falling victim to an identity theft scam.

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