These Red Flags Signal Dangerous Email

In an advisory that I sent you at the end of December, I wrote about the need for all of us to sharpen our ability to spot phishing emails.

You’ll recall that a phishing email is a scam in which the cybercriminal sends out legitimate-looking email in an attempt to steal personal and financial information from victims. Typically, the emails appear to come from well-known and trustworthy websites but are fraudulent.

In all my years as a private detective and information security consultant, I’ve never seen as many phishing scams underway as there are today.

It’s an epidemic.

So, in my quest to keep as many people as well-informed as possible about the dangers of phishing emails and how to spot them, I came across a good poster that lists many of the red flags of social engineering.

What is social engineering? Well, in the context of phishing emails, it can be defined as the art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information.

Stated more simply, social engineering is the scam.

It’s the con (confidence game) of the con man.

Now, to be sure, the poster I located is directed at employees of companies that are constantly bombarded by phishing emails.

Still, almost all the Red Flag warnings on the poster are applicable for everyone.

Please review the poster (it’s in pdf format), Social Engineering Red Flags, created by the good people at KnowBe4.

You can print it, download it (pdf format), or bookmark it as a readily available document you can review from time to time as a way to stay on guard against phishing emails.

OK. As I said, some of it is in language referencing employment circumstances, but almost all of it applies to any phishing email.

And, the poster breaks the various parts of an email out separately so you know the warning signs of a scam phishing email that may show up in the following categories:

  • From:
  • To:
  • Subject:
  • Date:
  • Hyperlinks:
  • Content:
  • Attachments:

Alright. Please review the poster. It won’t take more than a minute or two and it’s a great refresher about what to watch out for when opening emails. You’ll probably even learn about a few red flags you didn’t know about.

And you can always email me at [email protected] with any questions about a possible phishing email scam. I’m always here to help.

Be safe, secure and free!

Rob Douglas – Former Washington DC Private Detective and Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist

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