Use A Trusted Middleman Service When Buying & Selling.
Before I make a start, what you're about to read Is from a defensive standpoint, meaning "you" (as the "buyer") will be protecting yourself from the social engineer (who's the "seller"), and not the other way around. Generally speaking, there are quite a number of ways that social engineering Is used, with the most common being grabbing confidential Information, Infecting a computer with malware, dumpster diving and of course, the new breed of human hacking- "company manipulation and exploitation". All these are widely utilized at the time of this article, but SEing extends a lot further than that. For Instance, If you're registered with an online social engineering community to the likes of an Internet forum and plan to do business by buying certain Items, It's of the utmost Importance to take every precautionary measure to ensure the transaction runs smoothly.
Almost every forum has a "Marketplace" section, that allows members to advertise their goods for sale, hence the buyer & seller can make the exchange between themselves, however this can be a very risky procedure- particularly when you, "as the buyer", have never dealt with the seller beforehand. How so you ask? Well, when you've reached an agreement on the purchase price for an Item (or service) that the seller has on offer and deposited the money Into his account, why should he send It to you? He's anonymized his connection via a VPN, Is only known by a random username and received your cash using a fake PayPal account. As such, he's simply disappeared without a trace and you've fallen victim to being scammed by a calculated social engineer!
To prevent that from happening, use what's called a trusted "middleman", often abbreviated as "MM". How It works Is like this. The middleman ensures a smooth and secure transaction, by "holding the seller's Item" and "holding the buyer's money". When an agreement Is reached between the buyer & seller, the middleman will release the money to the seller, and send the Item to the buyer. The MM can be a moderator or an administrator on the forum, but If he's not "trusted", then It defeats the entire purpose. For example, who's to say that the middleman Is not a friend of the seller, thus they're both Intending to social engineer you? Clearly, you can see the need to be selective with whom you trust. I recommend using an online service such as Escrow. They've been around since 1999, so rest assured, you're In good hands.