Recently updated on March 1st, 2023

Let’s suppose you’re going through your email box and you find an email that is coming from a reputable company that you know. But there’s a catch. It’s asking you for personal information like passwords or credit card numbers. Stop there! You could have just fallen for a common cybercrime called phishing.

This popular cybercrime is the act of using false emails to gain valuable personal info about you or your company. Its namesake comes from fishing, where it’s like baiting a line to catch a fish. Many of these scams can be “baiting” you to get personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, or something more valuable. A study found that over 50% of these scams targeted people’s credentials for accounts like Microsoft Outlook, Google Drive, or Apple. It was also reported in 2017 that more than 400 businesses each day were targeted by phishing scammers pretending to be a company executive asking for funds transfers.

Common Elements To A Phishing Scam:

Urgency or Fear Tactics:

Phishing messages often use urgent or alarming language to create a sense of urgency in the recipient. For example, they may claim that the recipient’s account has been hacked or that their personal information is at risk, and they need to act immediately to protect themselves. They may also use fear tactics, such as threatening legal action or financial penalties, to make the recipient feel like they have no choice but to comply with the attacker’s demands.


Phishing attackers often use email addresses or website URLs that are similar to legitimate ones to trick the recipient into thinking the message is coming from a trustworthy source. For example, they may use a slightly misspelled version of a well-known company’s name or use a domain name that is similar to a legitimate one but with a different top-level domain (e.g., .com instead of .org). The attacker may also use logos or branding that are similar to the legitimate company’s to make the message look more convincing.

False Promises:

Phishing scams may also promise rewards or incentives to entice the recipient to click on a link or provide their personal information. For example, they may offer a free gift or prize, such as a gift card or vacation package, or promise to waive a fee or provide a discount if the recipient provides their personal information. These promises are usually too good to be true and are used to trick the recipient into taking the desired action.

Suspicious Links:

Phishing emails often contain links that lead to a fake website or a malicious attachment that installs malware on the recipient’s computer. These links may look legitimate, but they usually have subtle differences, such as a slightly different URL or a misspelling, that are designed to trick the recipient into clicking on them. Once the recipient clicks on the link or downloads the attachment, the attacker can steal their personal information or install malware on their computer.

Poor Grammar or Spelling:

Phishing messages often contain errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation, which is a red flag that the message may not be legitimate. Attackers often use automated tools to send out large numbers of phishing messages, which can result in mistakes in the message content. It is likely a phishing attempt if the message contains multiple errors or doesn’t make sense.

Unusual Requests:

Phishing scams may also ask for unusual or unexpected information, such as requesting the recipient’s social security number or asking them to transfer money to a specific account. These requests are designed to catch the recipient off guard and elicit a quick response. If the request seems unusual or unexpected, it is important to verify the legitimacy of the message before taking any action.

If you see one or more of these elements in an email, promptly report the email to IT Department or IT Services Provider and warn fellow employees!

You have already taken the most important step to protect yourself and your business – Being aware! The next step is simple – Share with others! We created an informative video to make it easy to educate your fellow employees or family members.

Check it out and pass it along!

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