The advent of the internet brought along with it a host of new terms that are basically unnecessary since to a great extent they are crimes or are cons that lead to a crime. For example, “social engineering” is a way of manipulating to people to divulge personal information, often in order to hack into their various accounts, both online accounts and bank accounts. Calling this con “social engineering” in no way lessens the crime. People have done time for such crimes.
Another term that seems to have become prevalent recently is “swatting.” A person calls 911 and “social engineers” the dispatcher into sending emergency personnel to an address, sometimes as a prank, more often as revenge to discredit an individual. Sometimes they use cyber skills such as “caller ID spoofing,” causing a different number to show up on caller ID. The goal of such calls is to get a whole SWAT team to descend on the unsuspecting household, hence the term “swatting.”
Not quite as serious, except to the person it happens to is “clickjacking,” which is when someone (or some computer robot) tries to get you to click on a link and divulge personal information. If you’re on Twitter of Facebook, you see such things all the time. “Did you see this picture of you lol,” is one I get freqently. Since hardly anyone ever takes my photo, and if they do, they either send it to me or post it on facebook, I know the link is a scam. And even if I didn’t know, I’m leery enough never to sign in to unfamiliar sites with my twitter or facebook passwords. I like to keep everything separate, though perhaps that is old-fashioned of me. (How strange to use the word “old fashioned” about something that is new within my life time.)
The point of this article is to be careful, of course. But mostly it’s a rebellion against the silly words that mask the simple truth. All of these actions — social engineering, swatting, clickjacking, caller ID spoofing, along with the dozens of terms not mentioned here — constitute fraud.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” All Bertram’s books are published by Second Wind Publishing. Connect with Pat on Google+