What is social engineering and how to recognize its red flags

23 Nov 2022


Social engineering is a technique used by attackers to exploit human vulnerabilities instead of software vulnerabilities. Attackers use social engineering techniques to trick people into divulging confidential information or performing actions that allow the attacker access to systems or data. Recognizing social engineering red flags can help you protect your company from these attacks. This blog post will introduce you to social engineering and discuss some of the most common red flags. We’ll also provide tips on how you can protect your company from these social engineering attacks. Stay safe!

Red flags that indicate Social Engineering

1. Sender

  • I don’t recognize the sender’s email address as someone I ordinarily communicate with.
  • This email is from someone outside my organization and it’s not related to my job responsibilities.
  • This email was sent from someone inside the organization or from a customer, vendor, or partner and is very unusual or out of character.
  • Is the sender’s email address from a suspicious domain (like micorsoft-support.com)?
  • I don’t know the sender personally and they were not vouched for by someone I trust.
  • I don’t have a business relationship nor any past communications with the sender.
  • This is an unexpected or unusual email with an embedded hyperlink or an attachment from someone I haven’t communicated with recently.

2. Receiver

  • I was cc’d on an email sent to one or more people, but I don’t personally know the other people it was sent to.
  • I received an email that was also sent to an unusual mix of people. For instance, it might be sent to a random group of people at my organization whose last names start with the same letter, or a whole list of unrelated addresses

3. Hyperlinks

  • I hover my mouse over a hyperlink that’s displayed in the email message, but the link-to address is for a different website. (This is a big red flag.)
  • I received an email that only has long hyperlinks with no further information, and the rest of the email is completely blank.
  • I received an email with a hyperlink that is a misspelling of a known web site. For instance, www.bankofarnerica.com — the “m” is really two characters — “r” and “n.”

4. Date

  • Did I receive an email that I normally would get during regular business hours, but it was sent at an unusual time like 3 a.m.?

5. Subject

  • Did I get an email with a subject line that is irrelevant or does not match the message content? • Is the email message a reply to

6. Attachments

  • The sender included an email attachment that I was not expecting or that makes no sense in relation to the email message. (This sender doesn’t ordinarily send me this type of attachment.) • I see an attachment with a possibly dangerous file type. The only file type that is always safe to click on is a .txt file

7. Content

  • Is the sender asking me to click on a link or open an attachment to avoid a negative consequence or to gain something of value?
  • Is the email out of the ordinary, or does it have bad grammar or spelling errors?
  • Is the sender asking me to click a link or open up an attachment that seems odd or illogical?
  • Do I have an uncomfortable gut feeling about the sender’s request to open an attachment or click a link?
  • Is the email asking me to look at a compromising or embarrassing picture of myself or someone I know?


The digital age has introduced new vulnerabilities to attack. Social engineering attacks are one type of cybercrime that can be devastating for individuals and organizations alike, but with some knowledge, you’ll have protection on your side! Swiftchip wants everyone in this modern world who visits our website or interacts online at all times because we want them safe too – visit us today while there’s still time before hackers get their hands on what they need next: information about how vulnerable people like yourself might fill up gaps when protecting themselves against these malicious threats through basic safety practices such as not clicking suspicious links from emails unless confirmed by another source either way


Swift Chip provides managed IT and cybersecurity services for a wide variety of companies in fields with stringent privacy and compliance requirements.

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