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How Cybercriminals Use Social Engineering To Steal Personal Information?

Cybercriminals take advantage of advanced technology and methods for online attacks. The most common method that cybercriminals use is manipulating people through trust and their emotions, or in other words, social engineering. Let’s look in detail at what social engineering is, how cybercriminals use social engineering to steal personal information, and how to prevent yourself from social engineering attacks. 

What Is Social Engineering?

Sturgistech, in their cyber security sample, explains Social engineering as a type of cyber attack that involves manipulating people to divulge sensitive information or to take an action that is not in their best interest. Social engineers use various techniques to exploit the natural human tendency to trust others, including impersonation, deception, and manipulation. 

How Does Social Engineering Work?

The social engineering attack cycle involves several steps cybercriminals use to carry out a social engineering attack successfully. Here are the typical steps of the social engineering attack cycle:

  1. Research & Planning

The first step is for the attacker to research the target or targets. This may involve gathering information from social media, online profiles, and public records to learn about the target’s interests, affiliations, and other personal information. 

Based on the information gathered in the research phase, the attacker plans the attack, selecting the social engineering technique that is most likely to be successful against the target. This may involve crafting a compelling message, creating a fake website, or preparing a pretext that will be used to gain the target’s trust.

  1. Contact

The attacker initiates contact with the target using the chosen social engineering technique, which includes sending an email, making a phone call, or reaching out through a social media platform.

Once contact has been made, the attacker seeks to establish rapport with the target using flattery or creating a sense of urgency to gain the target’s trust and cooperation.

  1. Exploitation

With the target’s trust established, the attacker exploits the situation to gain access to sensitive information or convince the target to take action involving asking for login credentials, requesting that the target download malware, or convincing the target to provide personal information.

  1. Exit

After successfully obtaining the desired information or achieving the objective of the attack, the attacker exits the situation, often leaving no trace of their involvement.

How Can Cybercriminals Steal Personal Information Using Social Engineering?  

Cybercriminals use social engineering techniques to steal personal information from individuals, organisations, and businesses. Some of the common social engineering techniques that cybercriminals use include:


This is the most common social engineering technique used by cybercriminals. Phishing scams involve sending fraudulent emails, text messages, or instant messages that appear to be from a genuine source, such as a bank or other financial institution. The message may ask the recipient to click on a link or stipulate personal information, such as login credentials, social security numbers, or credit card details.


This technique involves impersonating someone in authority, such as an IT support representative or manager, to access sensitive information. Cybercriminals may use social media or other publicly available information to create a believable backstory and establish trust with the victim.


Baiting involves offering a tempting reward, such as a free download or a gift card, in exchange for personal information. The victim may be asked to complete a survey or provide contact information, which the cybercriminal can use for further attacks.

Spear Phishing

This targeted phishing attack is tailored to a specific individual or organisation. The cybercriminal may use information gathered from social media or other sources to make the message more convincing and to increase the likelihood of success.

Social Media Scams

Cybercriminals may create fake social media profiles or use social engineering techniques to obtain access to a victim’s social media account. They may then use this information to launch attacks, such as phishing scams or identity theft.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Social Engineering Attacks 

Protecting yourself against social engineering attacks can be challenging because these attacks often rely on the victim’s own actions rather than exploiting a vulnerability in a computer system or network. Sturgistech recommends a few tips in their article about protecting yourself against social engineering attacks. Following these steps can reduce the risk of social engineering attacks and protect your personal information online.

However, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself: 

  1. Be suspicious of unsolicited messages: If you receive an email, text message, or phone call from an unknown sender, be cautious. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown sources.
  2. Verify the sender’s identity: If you receive a legitimate-looking message, verify the sender’s identity before providing any personal information. Call the organisation directly or visit their website to confirm the legitimate request.
  3. Use strong passwords: Use unique passwords for all your online accounts. Ensure to enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. This can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing your accounts even if they obtain your password.
  4. Educate yourself and others: Educate yourself and others on safe online behaviour and the common techniques used by cybercriminals. This can include attending cybersecurity training sessions or reading educational resources on social engineering attacks.
  5. Keep software up to date: Ensure that your computer, smartphone, and other devices are updated with the latest security patches and software updates. This can help protect against vulnerabilities that cybercriminals may exploit.
  6. Be careful with your personal information: Be cautious about sharing personal information, such as your social security number or credit card details, online or over the phone. Only provide this information when necessary, and only to trusted sources.WHY MY CAT IS MEOWING,
  7. The cat’s meow is her way of communicating with people. Cats meow for many reasons—to say hello, to ask for things, and to tell us when something’s wrong.
  8. People often wonder why our cats talk a lot, because cats usually talk when they are in pain or when they are hungry.
  9. Sometimes a cat speaks when it wants to attract us
  10. And besides, the cat talks more when it hears the noise and is frightened by the noise,
  11. Bear in mind that some breeds of cats, notably the Siamese, are prone to excessive meowing and yowling.

Conclusion ‘

Cybercriminals always seek methods such as social engineering to steal personal information. It is extremely important for you to follow preventative methods so that your important information stays secure. 

Eric Stone
Eric Stone

I am Eric Stone, and I provide research-based content in the USA to readers. After completing my PhD back in 2007, I started my academic writing career, and ever since that, I have helped over 500 students achieve their desired dreams. For better exposure, I am currently involved with Sturgis Tech, which provides the best Informative content in the USA.

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