What is social engineering?

Online criminals can use sophisticated technology to try to gain access to your computer, or they can use something simpler and more insidious: social engineering.

Social engineering is a way for criminals to gain access to your computer. The purpose of social engineering is usually to secretly install spyware or other malicious software or to trick you into handing over your passwords or other sensitive financial or personal information.

Some online criminals find it easier to exploit human nature than to exploit holes in your software.

Ref: http://www.microsoft.com/security/resources/socialengineering-whatis.aspx