This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

How to detect a phony email message

Creating a phony email message (like the one pictured below) is easy. Graphic Design is not. But the good news is that identifying these fake messages just takes some basic knowledge of graphic design and some observation.

This type of message is known as "phishing". Just having it sit in your "in" box does no harm to you. The harm comes when you mistakenly click on it. So, before you click, take a look. The first thing that you should look for is reasonably-good graphic design. If this phony email message was actually from The American Institute of CPAs, they would have been able to write two paragraphs without the double-space that you see after the word swindle.

Another thing to look for is the correct use of the English language. English is a tricky language to get right, and there are clues here that this email wasn't written by someone who understands the language well. Not that there is anything criminal in that per se, but a real email that would be sent out by a respectable company would not say things like "obedience". Come to think of it, they probably wouldn't use the word "swindle", either.

And the best thing you can do it hover over the link. Here is says delation.pdf, but as you can see the link goes to, uh, well, you can see, a strange link. Don't click on that!