Safety and Protection

Anatomy of a Phishing Email (Infographic)

Erin Palmer

May 10, 2017

Anatomy of a phishing scam email

Learn the warning signs of a phishing email to help keep your private information safe.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a form of fraud that tries to trick people into clicking malicious links in order to reveal personal information, like passwords and credit card numbers.

Phishing emails are designed to look like they are from a legitimate person, organization or business. To stay safe, here are some signs to look out for.

Phishing email example
  1. Check the email address. If an email seems to come from a legitimate organization but uses a personal account (like or, it could be a phish.
    In this example, the name looks like it is from Suncoast, but the email address is not. Legitimate Suncoast emails should be from
  2. Look out for generic salutations and identifiers. These could be signs of phishing.
  3. Remember that urgency could be a sign of phishing. Beware of vague warnings and urgent requests to click a link or open an attachment. Always stop and think before taking any action.
  4. Hover over links before you click. Before clicking any links, make sure you know where the link leads. Hover over the link to see the web address. If you don’t recognize it or if it is different than the organization’s web address, it could be a phish.
  5. Beware unexpected attachments. If you were not expecting an attachment from the sender, do not open it. It could be phishing.

What if I’m Not Sure if it’s Phishing or a Real Email?

Keep in mind that fraudsters can be sophisticated, so you may not always have the same warning signs. Don’t click any links or open any attachments until you are sure the email is legitimate.

If you are unsure about an email, it is best to check with the organization directly through their public contact information. For example, if you are concerned about a suspicious email that looks like it comes from Suncoast, email to report it.

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