Phishing Examples: How to Spot Them and the Dangers of Every Type

Cybersecurity threats don’t always come from where you expect them too. Sometimes, they come wearing the face of a friend. While there are many types, these are the phishing examples you should definitely be aware of.

Email Phishing

Often the launching point for other forms of phishing. This is an attempt to deceive a victim into giving up personal information through social engineering.

These attempts pose as legitimate companies and create a sense of urgency to act immediately. They often lead to malicious websites or ask for things like credit card information to be entered.

How to spot:

  • Carefully verify the source
  • Check for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • As a rule, it’s best to always be suspicious of clickable links inside emails.

Spear Phishing

Besides having a clever name, spear phishing is the more targeted version of email phishing.

Hackers will use public sources like websites and social media channels to gather information about the victim and the company they work for. They will then use this information to more easily trick the individual into clicking a malicious link or sharing sensitive information.

How to spot:

  • Be on the lookout for strange or out-of-the-ordinary requests
  • Check the domain that follows the sender’s name
  • Lastly, just ask. Call the person or walk over to their desk.


Whaling is the next level up when it comes to spear phishing. Hackers attempt to pass themselves off as a senior member of the company in order to trick unsuspecting victims.

This type of phishing relies on the need for people to impress their superiors. Many people often won’t question a request, simply due to the fear of seeming “unprofessional”.

How to spot:

  • As with spear phishing, question strange requests
  • Double-check the sender’s email address
  • Make sure to confirm urgent requests through a secondary means


Instead of emails, vishing uses phone calls to steal information. This type of phishing usually goes hand-in-hand with the dreaded “robocall”.

Vishing attempts often coincide with stressful periods of the year such as tax season. They create a sense of panic and press on an issue many people are currently facing.

How to spot:

  • Unknown or blocked numbers are never a good sign
  • Be suspicious of urgent calls to action


As with Vishing, the primary channel for this form of phishing is your phone. This time around, the scammer attempts to steam information using text messages.

Usually, a link will be presented, or you are urged to call a presented phone number. The most common Smishing attempts are those claiming to be from a major bank. Luckily, spam filters are catching many of these attempts (but not all).

How to spot:

  • Be wary of any text from a number not programmed into your contact list
  • Watch out for urgent calls to action
  • Rule of thumb: your bank is never going to text you for personal information (or ever, really).

Angler Phishing

Moving from emails and phones to social media, scammers are finding clever ways to intercept communication across the internet.

Scammers will use hacked accounts or accounts created to look like someone you know in order to message you. They will sometimes pose as large companies too, requesting you contact them to “remedy” poor service you might have received.

How to spot:

  • Lookout for strange or abnormal direct messaging requests
  • Manually search phone numbers or websites for customer support
  • Never click links sent to you, unless you regularly do so from that source

Having the proper knowledge, like knowing about all these phishing examples, is the first part of the journey. Properly preparing your business and employees is the next.

QuickProtect simplifies cybersecurity, so you can stop worrying and focus on your business. We offer everything you need for efficient cyberprotection including employee awareness training.

Give us a call.