What is Social Engineering?

Fraud Prevention

Social engineering is the general term for attempts by fraudsters to manipulate a victim into performing actions or divulging confidential information. Sometimes these attempts are made to immediately gain access to data or to have the victim send money. Other times, they can be to gain as much information as possible from the victim that can be used for future attempts.

Criminals use social engineering tactics because it is usually easier to exploit a person’s natural inclination to trust others than it is to discover ways to hack their software.

Examples of social engineering attempts include:


Phishing refers to social engineering done through email. These emails will very often contain links that lead to malicious websites or attachments that contain malware. The message will often have a sense of urgency, to get the intended victim to click the link or open the attachment quickly without thinking.


Vishing, or voice-phishing, refers to social engineering over the phone. The caller may claim to be product support, law enforcement, or even your bank. The typical goal in vishing is to gain confidential information from the intended victim that can be used to gain access to their data or finances. Often fraudsters will ask for pre-paid gift cards that cannot be recovered.


Smishing, or SMS-phishing, refers to social engineering through text message. The text messages often promise rewards or include threats with a link to be tapped in the message. The links are malicious and can compromise your mobile device if opened.

How can I Protect Myself from Social Engineering?

1. Think before you click – Be suspicious of unexpected messages or messages with a sense of urgency directing you to click a link or perform an action.

2. Don’t give out your information - Never provide confidential information to someone who called you.

3. When in doubt, delete it - Delete unexpected messages from unknown senders and avoid clicking links.

4. Go to the source – If you aren’t sure a caller or message is legitimate, go to the company’s website and use a number or email listed there.

For more recommendations, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams.

If you think you are the victim of fraud related to your account with Enterprise Bank, please contact the Bank’s Call Center at 978-459-9000.

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