5 Signs Of A Phishing Email That Companies Must Be Aware Of

Phishing continues to be the leading attack vector for cybercriminals to persuade their victims to act in a certain way that benefits them, such as providing login credentials or other personal information. Phishing is basically a kind of social engineering tactic and a cybersecurity threat that is aimed at collecting sensitive information online. Phishing scams usually use fake websites with URLs that are manipulated to look like the address of a real website.

Over recent years, phishing has been on the rise, and anyone who uses text messaging, email, and other forms of communication is a potential victim. Particularly, phishing emails have been rather rampant and have become more carefully researched and orchestrated to target specific recipients. If successful, a phishing email can have enormous consequences, such as financial loss, identity theft, and damage to reputation.

As such, it is important to avoid falling victim to this cyberthreat by investing in reliable email security services and becoming aware of what phishing emails look like. Phishing emails often have an array of “hooks,” which, if identified by the recipient, can prevent the cyberattack from succeeding. Read on as we enumerate some of the most common signs of a phishing email that every company should be aware of.

1. A suspicious tone or greeting 

Usually, the first thing that arouses suspicion when reading a phishing email is the use of an unfamiliar language, such as a co-worker suddenly becoming overly formal or a manager suddenly using an informal tone. For instance, if you receive an email from your alleged colleague that starts with “Dear [your name],” and such  colleague has never used that salutation before, chances are, it is a phishing email. If the message sounds strange, it is best to look for other indicators that it may be fake.

2. Spelling and grammar errors 

Spelling mistakes and poor grammar is another common sign of a phishing email. Most companies have professional copywriters or use a spelling checker to review official emails before sending them. They may also turn on the spell check feature on their email client or apply autocorrect for outbound emails. Hence, emails sent from business or professional sources are typically expected to be free of spelling and grammar errors.

3. Inconsistencies in email addresses, domain names, and links

Another easy way to spot a potential phishing email attack is to look for inconsistencies in email addresses, domain names, and links. For instance, it is a good idea to check previous communications that match the same email address. If a link is included in the email, hover the mouse cursor over that link to see what pops up. If the email says it is from PayPal, but the link’s domain does not include “paypal.com,” that is a big red flag. Domain names that do not match are major indications of a phishing email.

4. Dubious attachments

If a recipient gets an email with an attached file from an unfamiliar source, or if they did not request or expect to receive a file from the alleged sender, that attachment must be opened with caution. A common type of phishing email is those with malicious attachments that are infected with malware. If the attached file has an unfamiliar extension or one that is popularly associated with malware downloads (.scr, .exe, or .zip), the recipient must first scan it for any virus before opening it.

5. Request for personal information

Among the most sophisticated forms of phishing emails is when an attacker has crafted a fake landing page that the recipient will be directed to by a link in an official-looking email. This fake landing page will contain either a login box or a request that a payment should be made to address an issue. If the recipient does not expect to receive such an email, they should visit the website from which the email has allegedly come by typing in the URL. It is important not to click on the link. This will prevent the recipient from entering their login credentials or making a payment.


In today’s worsening cyberwar climate, everyone has become a target, and email security is often the first line of defence. Businesses of all sizes experience frequent and increasingly sophisticated phishing attacks that no IT team can identify and combat alone using mere technology. For this reason, it is necessary for all companies to train their employees on how to spot and deal with phishing emails. Indeed, cybersecurity is an organisation-wide responsibility.

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