Scammers use trust to obtain your personal information
Ernie Ackermann of Stafford received a phone call from a company asking about his credit card.
The company said that with all the problems on the Internet, they were doing a security check.
The caller then asked Ackermann, a computer-science professor at Mary Washington College, for his credit-card number.
Ackermann refused to give it to him.
"The rule, I've always thought, was you don't give out your credit card unless you initiate the call," Ackermann said.
When he called his credit-card company about the call, they said they never conduct security checks like that.
He was a target of "social engineering," a term for the techniques thieves and computer hackers use to try to gain information from unsuspecting customers.
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- Review: The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security (25 April 2003)