What is a Common Indicator Of A Phishing Attempt? (2023)

What is a Common Indicator Of A Phishing Attempt?

In today’s interconnected digital landscape, where communication and transactions occur predominantly online, individuals and organizations alike are constantly exposed to various cybersecurity threats. Among these, phishing attempts stand out as one of the most prevalent and concerning tactics employed by cybercriminals.

This article explores common indicator of a phishing attempt, shedding light on what is a common indicator of a phishing attempt and how individuals can stay vigilant and protect themselves from falling victim to such malicious activities.

What is Phishing?

Phishing involves the deceptive act of impersonating legitimate entities to manipulate targets into divulging sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal details.

Recognizing the signs of a phishing attempt is crucial in safeguarding oneself against potential data breaches and identity theft

Phishing stands as the prevailing type of cybercrime, with numerous reports suggesting a staggering daily circulation of 3.4 billion malicious emails. In the 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) by Verizon, it was revealed that phishing played a role in 36% of all recorded data breaches.

Phishing attacks are not invincible, you can protect yourself from phishing attacks, educate yourself about common tactics, verify sender information and URLs, exercise caution when clicking links or attachments, and use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for added security. Keep software updated, employ strong passwords, and be wary of urgent requests or pop-ups asking for personal information. Always confirm the legitimacy of requests through other means, enable email filters, and promptly report suspicious emails. Stay informed about cybersecurity trends to stay ahead of new phishing techniques and threats.

Learning and having knowledge about these common indicators of phishing attempt can help organization and its employees to be safe from such threats.

What Is a Common Indicator Of A Phishing Attempt

Now we will be looking into common indicator of a phishing attempt. We will explore 8 common indicators of phishing emails which can help you to keep you and your organization safe from such attacks.

1. Unconventional or generic forms of greeting

Greetings that appear unusual or overly generic can serve as red flags indicative of potential phishing attempts. These could include greetings like “Dear Customer” or “Valued User,” lacking the personal touch characteristic of legitimate communications.

Unconventional or generic forms of greeting, One of the common indicators of Phishing Email
A PayPal email example with “Unconventional or generic forms of greeting”, One of the common indicators of Phishing Email

Reputable entities usually include their contact details. If you don’t spot a phone number, email address, or links to social media in the signature section, it’s highly likely the email is fraudulent.

2. Spelling Errors And Grammatical Errors

One of the most common indicators of phishing attempts are spelling and grammar mistakes. These errors can show that the email might not be real. Look out for wrong words and sentences that don’t sound right. If you see these mistakes, be careful before doing anything the email asks.

  • Poor Sentence Structure
  • Improper Punctuation
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Inconsistent Capitalization
  • Awkward Phrasing
  • Wrong Tenses
  • Misspelled Words

3. Suspicious Subject Lines: Unusual Phrases, Punctuation, Spelling

Beware of emails with unusual subject lines, as scammers often use strange phrases, excessive punctuation, or spelling errors to deceive you. It’s important to be cautious and avoid opening such emails. Don’t click on any unfamiliar links, and never share personal information through these messages. Always verify the sender’s identity, use antivirus software to stay protected, and remember to stay vigilant to potential scams.

Suspicious Subject Lines: Unusual Phrases, Punctuation, Spelling - common indicator of a phishing attempt
Suspicious Subject Lines: Unusual Phrases, Punctuation, Spelling

4. Surprising Offers

Be cautious when receiving emails that promise surprising offers. Surprising offers are one of the very common indicators of phishing attempts. Phishing emails often use these enticing offers to trick you into clicking on malicious links or sharing personal information. If an email seems too good to be true, it’s a good idea to verify its legitimacy with caution. Don’t click on any links or provide personal details unless you’re certain the email is from a trusted source.

Surprising Offers - common indicator of a phishing attempt
Surprising or unbelievable offers

5. Public And Unusual Domains

Stay vigilant when dealing with emails that seem unusual, come from unknown sources, or claim to be from the public domain.

Cybercriminals often use these tactics in phishing attempts. They might impersonate legitimate organizations, use generic-sounding email addresses, or create a sense of urgency to manipulate you into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.

Public And Unusual Domains - common indicator of a phishing attempt
Public And Unusual Domains

To stay safe, avoid interacting with such emails, don’t share personal information, and double-check the sender’s authenticity through official channels if needed.

6. Urgent Tones

Watch out for emails that act super urgent. Phishing emails use this to make you panic and do what they say. They might say your account is in danger or you owe money fast. Just be careful and don’t rush.

Urgent tones - common indicator of a phishing attempt
Urgent tones

Always check if the email is real. Don’t click on links or give personal info unless you’re totally sure it’s safe. If you’re unsure, contact the company directly using their official info.

7. Suspicious Attachments

Watch out for strange links or files that come with emails. Some bad people use these to try to trick you. Don’t click on the links or open the files unless you’re really, really sure they’re safe. If you’re not sure, it’s better to ask the person who sent the email. This way, you can avoid things like viruses or tricks that could hurt your computer or personal information.

Potentially malicious attachment types are:

  • .zip
  • .jar
  • .exe
  • .scr

8. Sender’s Origin

Pay attention to who sends emails and what they’re asking for. Phishing emails might seem like they’re from known places, but they’re not real. Check the real email address of the sender, not just their name.

Also, be alert if they’re requesting money, passwords, or personal details. Legitimate companies won’t do this through email. If you’re not sure, reach out to the company using their official contact information. This helps you stay away from scams and keep your important information safe.

Fraudsters might also act like they’re from inside the company, like HR, IT, or a top boss. They’ll ask you things such as:

  • Quickly change your password
  • Install this software to keep using your account
  • Get salary info by downloading
  • Look at the new vacation policy
  • Transfer $30,000 to this account in an hour

But be careful, they’re not really from the company. Always double-check before you do anything they ask. It’s best to use official channels to confirm their requests. This way, you can keep your information and money safe from scams.

Looking out for these common indicator of a phishing attempts can help in protecting your organization from phishing threats.


In summary, being able to identify common indicator of a phishing attempts is essential for protecting our online security and personal data. By remaining cautious and alert, we can effectively shield ourselves from cybercriminals who aim to exploit our vulnerability and manipulate us into sharing confidential information. Recognizing signs like suspicious URLs, sender information inconsistencies, solicitation of personal data, urgency, and language errors should prompt us to verify the legitimacy of the communication.

Moreover, regularly updating our software, employing strong and unique passwords, and staying informed about the evolving tactics of phishing attacks are all vital strategies in maintaining a secure online presence. Through ongoing education and proactive measures, we can effectively reduce the risks associated with phishing and contribute to a safer digital environment for ourselves and others. Provide regular training to employees and keep them updated about the common indicators of phishing attempts to prevent being phished.

FAQ’s for What is a Common Indicator Of A Phishing Attempt

Which is a common phishing attempt?

A common phishing attempt involves deceptive emails posing as trusted organizations. These messages create urgency or fear, pushing recipients to click on fake links and share sensitive information, which is then exploited by cybercriminals. Always verify emails before taking action.

Which of the following are common indicators of a phishing email?

1. Suspicious Sender: Check for unfamiliar or slightly altered email addresses.
2. Generic Greetings: Be cautious of emails that don’t address you by name.
3. Urgency: Watch out for messages pressuring you to act quickly.
4. Personal Information Requests: Legitimate organizations won’t ask for sensitive info via email.
5. Unusual URLs: Hover over links to verify they lead to legitimate sites.
6. Language Errors: Poor grammar and spelling can indicate a phishing attempt.
7. Mismatched Domain: Ensure the sender’s domain matches the organization’s.
8. Too Good to Be True: Be skeptical of offers that sound unrealistic.
9. Attachments: Don’t open attachments from unknown sources.
10. Misspelled URLs: Look for subtle URL misspellings in links.
11. Lack of Personalization: Authentic emails often include personal details.
12. Incorrect Branding: Check for discrepancies in logos and branding.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of cyberattack that involves attempting to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal identification, by posing as a legitimate and trustworthy entity. It’s typically carried out through deceptive emails, messages, or websites that mimic well-known organizations or services. The goal of phishing attacks is to manipulate victims into taking actions that compromise their security or provide valuable information to the attacker.

Lichumon is an enthusiastic SOC Analyst with a keen interest in exploring the complexities of the dark web and human risk factors in cybersecurity. Despite being early in his career, his eagerness to learn and adapt sets him apart. Balancing vigilance and curiosity, Lichumon navigates the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape with a sense of determination and commitment to continuous learning.