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What is social engineering?

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is a technique used by criminals to gain access to your computer. The purpose of social engineering is usually to secretly install spyware or other malicious software or to trick you into handing over your passwords or other sensitive financial and personal information.

Social engineering scams can be both online (such as an email message that asks you to open the attachment, which contains malware) and offline (such as a phone call from someone posing as a representative from your credit card company).

For more information, see Email and web scams: How to help protect yourself.