Outsmart the fraudster

17-02-24 13:57 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

Every now and then I get a phone call from “Microsoft Support”. 

The caller, often calling from a number abroad, claims that my computer is sending error messages to them and it’s infected with a virus. To fix the problem, all he needs is remote access to my computer in order to erase the virus. Piece of cake.

Sound familiar? Probably – it’s one the most common scams at the moment and goes by the name of “social engineering”.

Social engineering is a fine mix of science, psychology and art. While it’s amazing and fascinating, it’s also very simple. With some basic techniques, the fraudsters manipulate people into disclosing confidential information.

Usually it’s passwords and bank information they are after, but sometimes they try to get access to your computer to secretly install malware that will give them the key to your life.

The most common social engineering attacks, other than the Microsoft scam, are as follows: 

Facebook fraud

You receive a chat message from one of your Facebook friends. The friend needs help logging in to their internet bank because their credentials have been lost.

Your “friend”, who is in fact an impostor, has hacked into your real friend’s account and is trying to get you to give away your login details to log into your online bank and steal money from your account.

CEO fraud

By using a fake identity, this scam consists of convincing an employee of a company to make an emergency bank transfer to a third party, often to an account abroad.

The CEO’s email account has been hacked, or spoofed, making the e-mail with the payment order seem legitimate to the recipient.


Phishing e-mails are designed to look official and may come in the form of an “urgent security alert” for you to immediately visit a website to confirm your personal details. It can, for example, appear to come from your bank, your ISP, tax agency or a friend. 

If you click on the link in the e-mail you may end up on a website designed to infect your computer with a virus, and the fraudsters can monitor every electronic step you take.

Outsmart the fraudster and just hang up if you get a call from “Microsoft”, contact your friend with the hacked Facebook account and don’t click on suspicious links.

Your entire life is online and can be used against you. Be careful about what you reveal about yourself online and in social media. And remember that you are the only one who should know what your personal codes are.

/Anna-Karin Kjellgren, Fraud management at Nordea.

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