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This Fall’s Top 10 Suspicious Work E-mail Subjects

By Ashleigh, K-Staff

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COVID-19 remains a popular target for attackers looking to trick users into clicking malicious links. 

6 Psychological Tricks Used By COVID-19 Scammers

“During this pandemic, we’ve seen malicious hackers preying on users’ biggest weak points by sending messages that instill fear, uncertainty and doubt,” said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4. “Our Q3 report confirms that coronavirus-related subject lines have remained their most promising attack type, as pandemic conditions weaken judgment, and lead to potentially detrimental clicks.”

This Fall’s Top 10 Suspicious Work E-Mail Subjects:

  • Payroll Deduction Form
  • Please review the leave law requirements
  • Password Check Required Immediately
  • Required to read or complete: “COVID-19 Safety Policy”
  • COVID-19 Remote Work Policy Update
  • Vacation Policy Update
  • Scheduled Server Maintenance — No Internet Access
  • Your team shared “COVID 19 Amendment and Emergency leave pay policy” with you via OneDrive
  • Official Quarantine Notice
  • COVID-19: Return To Work Guidelines and Requirements

As is often the case with malicious emails, many of these emulate actual e-mails you may receive, but the key difference is that the legitimate e-mails won’t usually have the red flags everyone should always be on the lookout for:

Red Flags

  • Unsolicited Attachments and Links – E-mails containing unsolicited attachments or links—don’t open or click these!
  • Urgent Response – E-mails requesting urgent action regarding some previously unknown matter
  • Unusual E-Mail Address – The display name on an e-mail isn’t necessarily the e-mail address. So even if the sender appears to be “HR Department”, check the e-mail address. A scam address will likely not match exactly.

As with all scams, resist urgent calls to action to click links, send money, or enter any personal information. Verify any e-mail you receive directly with the purported sender. If you do click or enter any information based on a potentially fraudulent email you receive in a work inbox, inform your employer as soon as possible.

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