5 Tips to Teach New Employees about Avoiding Phishing Emails

Shannon Idea generator Vanta Team Member Conversation starter

What is a phishing email?

A phishing email is a type of scam where the attacker impersonates a trustworthy source, such as a reputable company, a government agency, or a colleague, and sends an email intending to trick the recipient into divulging sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link or attachment.


How can phishing scams put your audit at risk? 

  • Data breaches: If an employee falls for a phishing email and unknowingly provides access to sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal data, it can result in a data breach. Data breaches can compromise the integrity of the data and put the company's compliance audit at risk, as it may fail to meet the required security and privacy standards.

  • Financial fraud: Phishing emails can also result in financial fraud, where attackers trick employees into transferring money or making fraudulent and unauthorized purchases. Such fraudulent activities can lead to accounting irregularities and misrepresentations, impacting the company's financial statements and compliance audit.

  • Cyberattacks: Phishing emails can also deliver malware or ransomware, compromising the company's network and systems. A cyberattack can lead to a significant loss of data and a breach of compliance regulations, putting the company's audit and reputation at risk.

  • Non-compliance penalties: Failing to comply with industry or government regulations can result in hefty fines, legal action, and damage to the company's reputation. If a phishing email results in a compliance breach, the company may face penalties and audit failures, affecting its compliance posture and audit outcome.


5 Tips to Avoid Phishing Email Scams

  1. Verify the sender: Check the sender's email address and ensure it matches the company or individual they claim to represent. Phishers often use fake or similar-looking email addresses to trick you into thinking the email is legitimate. Check for spelling, strange domains, and names you don't recognize. It's a great rule of thumb to report it to your IT team if you're not sure.

  2. Avoid clicking on links: Hover your mouse over any links in the email to check the URL. Phishers often use fake URLs that redirect you to a phony website. If the link looks suspicious, don't click it.

  3. Be cautious of urgent requests: Phishing emails often use critical or alarming language to make you act quickly without thinking. Be wary of any emails that demand immediate action or threaten negative consequences. If you are unsure, contact your HR team to double-check the request.

  4. Don't give away personal information: Legitimate companies will never ask you to provide personal information via email, such as passwords or credit card numbers. If an email requests this information, it's likely a phishing attempt.

  5. Use spam filters and antivirus software: Use spam filters and antivirus software to help filter out potentially harmful emails. These tools can detect and block phishing attempts before they reach your inbox.



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