6 Signs of a Phishing Email Your Employees Need to Know

two coworkers in office at computer reviewing signs of a phishing email

The attacker behind phishing emails casts a wide digital net, waiting to see who bites. The term ‘phishing’ is derived from the analogy of ‘fishing,’ where bait such as an email is thrown with the intention of hooking a user to steal personal information.

Knowing the signs of a phishing email is crucial for businesses to maintain a secure online presence.  These deceitful emails can come in various forms, such as false promises of wealth, threats of account closures, or impersonation of reputable services or individuals.

  1. Unmasking the Sender

When receiving an email, one of the most visible signs of a phishing email lies in the sender’s display name and email address. Often, attackers will mimic legitimate companies using subtle variations in domain names or misspelled sender names, hoping recipients overlook the errors.

For example, you might receive an email from ‘[email protected]’, which closely resembles the official ‘[email protected]’. Always ensure the sender’s details are exact and in line with what a genuine email would look like.

  1. Suspicious Attachments or Links

Malware-laden attachments or links to counterfeit websites might be the email’s main payload. Hovering over a link without clicking can usually reveal the underlying URL, providing a crucial clue. Remote accessibility software, executables, or files with strange extensions should always be treated as suspicious and avoided.

  1. Inducing Fear, Desperation, or Curiosity

Phishing thrives on tapping into the reader’s emotions. Emails promising you the avoidance of a dramatic consequence like suspending a bank account, or those demanding immediate action due to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, should be treated as suspect. Genuine service providers don’t operate in such an aggressive manner.

  1. Poor Spelling and Grammar

While not foolproof, poor spelling and grammar can indicate a suspicious email. Phishing attempts, especially those from outside the country, may have odd sentence structures, grammar mistakes, or excessive use of exclamation points.

  1. Unexpected Requests for Information

Legitimate organizations usually have well-defined protocols for soliciting sensitive data. If an email unexpectedly asks for personal details, financial information, or passwords, without prior context or a clear chain of verification, this is a strong indication that it might be a phishing email. Always verify such requests through official company channels.

  1. Too Good to Be True

Emails promising the moon should always raise red flags—whether it’s an offer for a ridiculously high return on investment, the chance to claim a sizable inheritance from a long-lost relative, or free access to exclusive and expensive services.

If something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. Engaging with these emails could lead to the loss of personal and organizational data, financial fraud, and a host of other headaches.

Prevent Phishing Like a Pro

Awareness of the signs is the first step, but true defense against phishing requires proactive measures. It’s time to upgrade your business’s security protocols and, where necessary, your team’s understanding of the risks.

By partnering with professional IT services, you can access expert training, tests, and tools that keep your employees educated and prepared. You’ll turn your employees into a first line of defense rather than the weakest link.

Ready to Level Up Your Digital Defenses?

If you’re worried that your employees wouldn’t be able to pass a test on the signs of a phishing email, Galaxy IT is here to help. Beyond just upgrading software, we aim to instill a culture of security, knowledge, and preparedness, keeping your business safe from digital threats. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive IT services and how we can protect your business.