Pretexting Attacks

How Cybercriminals Gain Your Trust

Pretexting Attacks

Pretexting Attacks: How Cybercriminals Gain Your Trust and What You Can Do About It


In the ever-evolving world of cybercrime, hackers are constantly coming up with new tricks to manipulate and deceive individuals. One such sneaky tactic they use is known as pretexting. Let’s explore what pretexting is, how cybercriminals use it to gain your trust, and most importantly, how you can protect yourself from falling victim to these attacks. 


Understanding Pretexting 

Pretexting is a clever scheme used by cybercriminals to create believable, made-up scenarios designed to exploit your trust and ultimately extract valuable information or actions from you. What sets pretexting apart is the effort that cybercriminals put into gathering information about you to make their ruse seem authentic. They may impersonate individuals or job roles like tech support, human resources, or even someone you know personally. 


The Anatomy of a Pretexting Attack 

Pretexting attacks are unique in the level of detail involved. Cybercriminals take the time to learn more about you, often through your online presence, and establish an ongoing dialogue with you through various channels, such as email, text, or phone calls. They’ll use the information they've gathered to craft a convincing narrative, making it seem like they have a legitimate reason to request sensitive information or actions from you. 


Protecting Yourself from Pretexting Attacks 

Now that you know what pretexting is, it's crucial to understand how to defend yourself against it. Here are some practical steps to safeguard your information: 

1. Limit What You Share Online: Since pretexting attacks rely on cybercriminals having enough information about you to gain your trust, sharing personal information online puts you at greater risk. Be mindful of the information you share on social media and other online platforms. 

2. Remain Skeptical: If someone, even a person who appears legitimate, asks for sensitive information or wants you to take an unexpected action, consider it a red flag. If you cannot verify the requester's identity using contact information you know is legitimate, be cautious and report the interaction accordingly. 

3. Slow Down: Legitimate requests from trusted sources typically don't rush you into making decisions. If someone is pushing you to act immediately, it's a reason to be suspicious. Take your time to verify the situation and ensure the request is legitimate before proceeding. 

Pretexting attacks can be sophisticated and convincing, but by following these steps and remaining vigilant, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling for them. Remember, your personal information and trust are valuable commodities, so protect them wisely in the digital age. 

Stay cautious, stay secure! 


More tips:   

  • If you receive a suspicious call or text, please call us at 888.336.2700 to confirm the message is truly from us.   
  • Visit our Security and Fraud Protection page for more support.