Red Flags to Look Out for in Suspicious Emails: The Telltale Signs of Phishing Attempts

In an era of digital communication, emails are widely used for personal and business correspondence. This involves an exchange of sensitive data like credit card details, personal details, as well as financial information. It is important to be able to identify and sort out the phishing attempts from legitimate emails. This article sheds light on the different red flags to look out for in suspicious emails

1. Subject Line Anomalies: Spotting Suspicious Email Titles

In such emails, the style of writing the subject lines deviates from the regular style used by the original sender. The subject line could have odd messages, grammatical errors, and use of characters or emojis.

2. Sender Identity: Unmasking Phishing Emails

Phishing emails make use of modified email addresses that resemble legitimate ones. It is important to examine the email id and the organisation domain before accessing and responding to any email. Most of the firms receive emails that impersonate other employees in a firm or people in the contact list.

3. Poor Grammar and Spelling: Uncovering Phishing Red Flags

The most common red flags that can help identify a phishing email are the erroneous spellings used throughout the email, poor grammar, wrong spellings, and bad punctuation.

4. Urgency and Threats: Identifying High-Pressure Tactics

Few phishing emails create a sense of urgency or fear and trick people into opening them, downloading attachments, or clicking links. For instance, an email could have the subject line “Attn: Unusual activity detected in your account”.

5. Mismatched URLs: Examining Links for Potential Phishing

Phishing emails trick the receiver into clicking on links. It is important to crosscheck the links and ensure they are legitimate before clicking on them. It is important to check for any inconsistency in the link and the legitimate one.

6. Suspicious Attachments: Avoiding Malware and Phishing Payloads

Emails that are accompanied by a sense of urgency generally include malware attachments. These attachments could resemble simple PDF, Word or archived files (for example, .zip files). Always be wary of emails with suspicious attachments.

7. Unfamiliar Senders: Evaluating Email Addresses for Phishing Indicators

Emails from unknown and unfamiliar senders indicate that it is a phishing attack. It is important to always verify the sender’s email before accessing the links or attachments.

8. Requests for Personal Information: Recognising Phishing Attempts to Steal Data

Emails that appear to come from legitimate companies or people and ask for personal information related to bank accounts, addresses, or credit cards are a red flag are an attempt to steal data.

9. Unexpected Requests for Money: Identifying Potential Financial Scams

A lot of emails come in with a detailed description with a request for money/inheritance and trick people into disclosing their financial data or even sending money. There could be emails that even offer high-value prizes that require the receiver to pay an amount.

10. Generic Greetings: Assessing the Personalisation of Phishing Emails

Emails with generic greetings such as “Hello user” are a red flag. An important step to identify phishing attempts is the evaluation of personalisation in emails.

11. Misspelled or Spoofed Logos: Spotting Phishing Attempts Through Branding

Many cyber criminals contact individuals by mimicking legitimate companies and brands. The emails will also have the logo of the company. However, there would be minor defects in the logo like or misspelling the brand that indicate it is a phishing email.


Digitalisation has become the lifeline of every activity, be it personal or business. This makes it vital for every individual to be cautious and educate themselves on the different types of phishing scams and ways to avoid them. Visit Federal Bank’s Learning Center to stay updated on the best cyber security practices.