Social engineering fraud

‘Social engineering fraud’ is a broad term that refers to the scams used by criminals to trick, deceive and manipulate their victims into giving out confidential information and funds.

Criminals exploit a person’s trust in order to find out their banking details, passwords or other personal data.

Scams are carried out online – for example, by email or through social networking sites – by telephone, or even in person.

How can I protect myself?


Remain vigilant and take the time to assess any e-mails you hadn’t expected to receive. Be sure to check carefully the sender’s email address and any URLs, and check the authenticity of the information against an official source.

If you receive a message you weren’t expecting (even it appears to be from someone you know), or you get an offer that seems too good to be true:

  • Do not open any attachments;
  • Do not click on any links;
  • Do not reply;
  • Do not send any money;
  • Do not send identification documents – not even copies;
  • Do not give details of your bank accounts or payment cards;
  • Report the message as spam through your internet supplier then delete it.

Likewise, if you receive a phone call you don’t feel comfortable with, do not give any information and end the conversation.

You can also protect your PC and other devices by setting spam filters to the highest level, and installing firewalls and anti-virus software – and keeping them up-to-date.


In addition to the steps described above:

  • Develop a guide for the handling of sensitive information within your company;
  • Train your staff on how to recognize the different types of fraud;
  • Conduct intrusion tests to identify your vulnerabilities and strengthen your security;
  • Establish relationships with law enforcement and appropriate agencies in order to keep updated on the latest trends in social engineering;
  • Make sure that any financial transaction requires more than two authorized signatures from your company before being accepted by your bank;
  • Have a point of contact at your bank who is familiar with the transfer destinations of your company funds (and who can therefore detect any suspicious requests).
04 November 2016

Fake document detection focus of INTERPOL training

12 October 2016

INTERPOL training in West Africa to combat money laundering and terrorism financing

28 September 2016

Identifying cybercriminals at core of INTERPOL-Europol conference

08 September 2016

INTERPOL strengthens cooperation in combating corruption in Africa

01 August 2016

Ringleader of global network behind thousands of online scams arrested in Nigeria

20 June 2016

Criminal networks using stolen payment card data targeted in global operation

06 April 2016

Financial crime focus of Doha conference

31 March 2016

Coordinating efforts to better combat cybercrime focus of INTERPOL working group

17 December 2015

More than 500 arrested in INTERPOL operation targeting phone and email scams

03 December 2015

INTERPOL training on detecting fake documents aims to enhance border security

25 November 2015

Experts gather at INTERPOL to identify emerging social engineering fraud techniques

18 November 2015

Indian prime minister and INTERPOL Chief discuss cooperation

18 November 2015

Global asset recovery cooperation focus of INTERPOL-StAR conference

06 November 2015

More than 130 detained in global action tackling airline ticket fraud

02 October 2015

Identifying fake documents focus of INTERPOL and Frontex workshop

21 September 2015

INTERPOL training in Senegal tackles corruption and financial crimes

06 August 2015

Corruption and financial crime focus of INTERPOL training in Botswana

04 August 2015

Illegal online gambling in Asia targeted in INTERPOL operation

02 July 2015

Forensic document examination focus of Balkans INTERPOL training

29 June 2015

Global action against online air ticket fraudsters sees 130 detained

05 June 2015

INTERPOL group to field test new ink dating protocols to aid fraud and forgery investigations

02 June 2015

UK initiative underlines role of due diligence in securing official documents

19 May 2015

INTERPOL meeting in Bucharest aims to set the course for European security

30 January 2015

Estonia hosts INTERPOL workshop on anti-corruption and financial crimes

If you receive an email from someone claiming to represent INTERPOL, requesting personal information or bank account information, you should ignore it and treat it as spam.

Questions and answers