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Phishing Email Examples

by stacy

19 Common Phishing Email Examples

How to Avoid These Mistakes

The data isn’t lying – Phishing is still around in 2020, even though your email client or web connection is secure.

A 2019 Verizon report shows that 32% of data breaches were caused by phishing. Additionally, 90% of phishing emails were carried out in environments using Secure Email Gateways.

Strong cyber security is built on the ability to detect and avoid phishing emails that arrive in your inbox. It’s crucial to be able to recognize the differences between phishing email scams and what warning signs you should look out for in each one.

What’s a Phishing email?

A Phishing Email is a cybercrime that uses deception to steal confidential data from users and organizations.

Phishing victims are forced to reveal information that they should keep private by being lied to. Phishing email victims often respond to requests without hesitation because they trust the source and believe the party is acting with the best intentions.

Cybercriminals will often ask you for your password in phishing emails

  • Date of birth
  • Social security numbers
  • Telephone numbers
  • Credit card details
  • Address at home
  • Password information or what they require to reset your password

Cybercriminals then use this information to impersonate victims and open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, loans, or other fraudulent activity.

Cybercriminals may use the information from phishing emails to launch a more targeted attack such as a spearphishing or email compromise incident that depends on more details about the victim.

What is Phishing?

Phishing occurs when a victim responds to an email requesting urgent action.

Some examples of requested actions in a Phishing email are:

  • Clicking on an attachment
  • Enabling macros in Word document
  • Update a password
  • Response to a request for social media connections
  • Use a new wi-fi hot spot.

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their phishing attacks, and have developed tried-and-true methods to steal from innocent victims. It can be difficult to distinguish phishing attacks from valid emails, voice mails, text messages, or information requests because they come in so many forms.

Phishing simulations are a great way to test users for phishing awareness. To increase cyber security awareness and phishing awareness, organizations can use a phishing simulator to test their users.

Here are some examples of different types of Phishing Attacks

Like everything else on the Internet, phishing emails have become increasingly complex, more enticing, and harder to spot over time.

All users need to be aware of the various forms of phishing emails to successfully flag suspicious messages in their inbox.

Phishing Email

A large percentage of data breaches worldwide are still being caused by phishing emails. Phishing emails appear to be from a trusted source such as Amazon customer service, a bank, or PayPal. Cybercriminals conceal their existence in small details such as the URL of the sender, an email attachment link, and many more.

Spear Phishing

Cybercriminals may have previously obtained data about victims or their employers to target phishing emails. Spear phishing emails typically use familiar language and urgent messages to urge victims to take action immediately.

Link manipulation

This attack uses carefully written phishing emails to link to a popular website. The link redirects victims to a spoof version of the popular website. It is designed to appear like the real thing and asks them for their credentials to verify or update.

Fake Websites

Phishing emails sent by cybercriminals include links to fake websites. These pages can be used to trick victims into entering their credentials or other information into the interface of the site. The nefarious website will often leverage a subtle change to a known URL to trick users, such as mail.update.yahoo.com instead of mail.yahoo.com.

CEO Fraud

An example of a phishing attack is this: The victim uses an email address they know, such as the CEO, Human Resources Manager, or IT support department. The victim is asked to urgently act by email and transfer funds, update employees’ details or install a new application on their computer.

Content Injection

Cybercriminals are skilled at hacking websites and insert fake login pages or pop-ups that redirect website visitors to fake websites.

Session Hijacking

This advanced phishing attack allows criminals to gain access to a company’s web server and steal confidential information.


Clicking an email attachment is all it takes to install malicious code on a company’s computer or network. These attachments may appear valid or disguised as animated GIFs, eBook PDFs, funny cat videos, or eBook PDFs.

“Evil Twin” Wi-Fi

This happens when free Wi-Fi access points are spoofed. Victims log in to the wrong Wi-Fi hotspot unknowingly. Wi-Fi access points are often spoofed in coffee shops, airports and hospitals, shopping malls, and public parks.

Mobile Phishing (Smishing).

A scam SMS, voicemail, social media message, or text message asking for information, asks the recipient to update or change their account details or password or informs them that their account has been compromised. The victim’s data is stolen or malware is installed on their mobile devices via the link in the message.

Voice Phishing (Vishing).

This happens when a caller leaves a voicemail urging the recipient to immediately respond and call another number. These voicemails are urgent, and they convince victims that their bank accounts will be suspended if the victim doesn’t respond.

Man-In The-Middle

Two people are tricked into believing they are emailing each other by sophisticated phishing emails. The phisher sends fake emails asking for information and updating confidential corporate information to the victims.


This phishing technique makes use of pop-ups or online ads to convince people to click on a link that looks legitimate and then installs malware onto their computer.

Real-World Examples Of Phishing Email Attacks

All types of phishing emails have one common thread: the use of Social Engineering tactics. Social engineering, like most phishing attacks, is based on trust.

Many users don’t take the time to review phishing emails carefully and trust the requester. Phishing emails can lead victims to believe that they are helping their organizations by transferring money, updating login details, or giving access to confidential data.

These are some common examples of phishing email scams that you should inform your colleagues about.

Account Deactivation

PayPal sends an email to the victim advising them that their account has been compromised. They will need to confirm their credit card details or their account will be deleted. The victim clicks on the link to go to a fake PayPal website. Once confirmed, the stolen credit card information can be used for further crimes.

Compromised Credit Card

A cybercriminal has information about the victim’s recent Apple purchase and sends an email pretending to be from Apple customer service. The victim is informed by the email that their credit card information may have been compromised. They are asked to confirm their details to protect their account.

Transfer funds

The CEO of the company receives an urgent email while he is on vacation. The email requests that the recipient help the CEO transfer funds to a foreign partner. The phishing email informs the victim that she is urgently requesting funds to secure a new partnership. The victim does not hesitate to transfer funds believing that she is helping the CEO and the company.

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