The word "Phishing" highlighted in green on a printed page

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Watch for These Words in Email Scams

September 13, 2021

Email scams are on the rise: 2020 saw a 25% increase in the number of phishing sites compared to the previous year. Pay close attention to emails you receive and to their subject lines. Phishing scams often hold some commonalities in subject lines and keywords.

Expel Inc., which develops cyber security solutions, analyzed 10,000 malicious emails and released a report on the most common keywords found in the subject lines of phishing emails. They found that scammers usually use three strategies in their emails to scam others: imitating legitimate business activities, creating a sense of urgency, and prompting the recipient to act.

Here are some of the most common keywords used in phishing email subject lines, each followed by examples of real subject lines often used in each category, according to Expel’s report. But recipients should always verify the accuracy of links before clicking on them.

Invoice

  • RE: INVOICE
  • Missing Inv ####; From [Legitimate Business Name]

New

  • New Message from ####
  • New Scanned Fax Doc-Delivery for ####

Message

  • Telephone Message for ####

Required

  • Verification Required!
  • Action Required: Expiration Notice on [business email address]
  • [Action Required] Password Expire
  • Attention Required. Support ID: ####

File

  • [Name] sent you some files
  • File- ####

Document

  • [Name], You have received a new document in [Company system]
  • View Attached Documents

eFAX

  • eFax from ID: ####

View the full list of keywords and real subject lines at Expel.io.