Wikipedia defines social engineering as “…the art of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information, rather than by breaking in or using technical cracking techniques.” In other words, rather than a person coming to your house and physically stealing your bank account records, they will call you and pretend to be your bank in order to get what you want.
Social engineering is an extremely effective way for malicious people to get what they are after, and organizations of all sizes are vulnerable. Network World has a great article that describes the latest tricks that social engineers are using to try and defraud innocent people.
Give the article a read and remember to be careful out there. Security is an always evolving process and you can never be too prepared. If you are completely new to the concept of social engineering, this article is a great place to start.