Decoding The Art Of Social Engineering: A Non-Techie’s Guide To Outsmarting Cyber Tricksters

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Author: Chermaine Lipoto
Date: 26th October, 2023

Imagine receiving a phone call from a friendly voice, claiming to be from your bank and offering a tempting opportunity. You’re asked for just a few details to access exclusive benefits. What harm could it do, right? Little do you know, you’ve just stepped into the realm of SOCIAL ENGINEERING, a tale of trust, manipulation, and digital deception that could cost you dearly. Well, today we’re demystifying the world of Social Engineering, a fancy term for the tricks that cyber crooks use to get the better of unsuspecting folks. In this fun and easy-to-follow guide, we’ll break down what social engineering is, how it works, and specifically focus on the most famous trick in the book: Phishing. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to dance with the cyber tricksters and stay safe.

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is like a digital magic show, where cyber tricksters use psychology and charm to manipulate people into revealing their secrets, money, or sensitive information. It’s all about making you believe something that’s not true – like a grand illusion!


The Phishing Illusion: If there’s one trick every social engineer loves, it’s phishing. They send emails that look real but aren’t. Inside, you might find links that take you to fake websites, or they might ask you to download something malicious.

The Pretender Act: Social engineers are great actors. They pretend to be someone they’re not. They’ll act like your bank, a coworker, or a long-lost friend to trick you into giving up your secrets.

The Bait and Switch: Imagine you receive an email with an irresistible offer – perhaps a “free” gift card or a lottery you’ve miraculously won. All they want in return is your personal info. It’s like offering candy to a child; they’re banking on your excitement.

The Trust Factor: Social engineers often build trust with their victims by collecting information about them from various sources. Then, they use this personal info to appear genuine.


Being a savvy observer is the key to staying safe in this magic show. Keep an eye out for these signs:

Double-check the Sender: Carefully examine the sender’s email address. Phishers often use a fake one that looks convincing at first glance.

Watch for Urgency: If an email creates panic or an immediate need for action, be extra cautious. Phishers love making you act quickly.

Inspect Links and URLs: Hover your mouse over links without clicking to see the true destination. Fake websites often have small, hard-to-notice differences in the URL.

Check for Spelling and Grammar: Many phishing emails have typos and errors that give them away.

Don’t Share Personal Info: Legitimate organizations won’t ask for sensitive information through email.


Educate Yourself: Learn about common social engineering tricks and stay informed about the latest scams.

Set Strong Passwords: Use unique and complex passwords for your online accounts.

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA where possible to add an extra layer of security.

Stay Calm and Skeptical: When in doubt, take a moment to think and verify any unusual requests.


If you realize you’ve fallen for a social engineering trick, don’t panic. Report the incident to your IT department and, if necessary, report the scam to relevant authorities, change your passwords, and monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity.

Social engineering is like a magic show, but with your awareness and some easy-to-follow steps, you can be the one clapping in the audience instead of being the one fooled. Stay safe, and remember, you’ve got the power to outsmart the cyber tricksters!