Don’t get hooked: Using infographics to help identify phishing scams

Email scams are not an exciting topic. It’s often difficult to reach people with tips for learning how to spot scams until they become a victim of one, and nobody wants to read a big block of text listing the red flags to look for in an email.

To overcome this challenge at Rowan University, I developed an infographic. The infographic provided an example of a scam email and highlighted specific sections to look out for when evaluating whether you should respond to it — or delete it.

In “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” David Meerman Scott writes: “With the short attention span people have as a result of all the devices they use and how much information everyone juggles at any given time, an infographic grabs your eye, it gives you a headline, and it includes color in a way that a text blog post can’t.” While my infographic still included blocks of text, it displayed it in a way that would not have been possible with text alone.

This infographic walks the viewer through how to spot red flags in a potential email scam.

I regularly send the infographic to campus in scam email reminders, and it’s posted on the website for Information Resources & Technology.

I’ve also used variations on this infographic to help promote security awareness across campus, including the postcard shown below. This visual approach to an otherwise dry topic (and the fact that we attached a Swedish fish candy to each postcard when distributing them) helped us get the word about email scams.

The front of the phishing postcard.
The back of the phishing postcard.


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