Use This Clever Acronym (SLAM) To Identify Dangerous Emails in Your Inbox

Cybercriminals are continuously targeting naïve individuals. They do not discriminate when it comes to defrauding people. They’ll obtain money from anyone – young, old, poor, and rich. The American Journal of Public health notes that about 5% of adults get scammed yearly.

In the United States, older adults lose about $40 billion per year due to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals can easily exploit the information of an older adult, which can be obtained through smartphones or computer systems. Unfortunately, senior citizens are easy targets of cybercriminals because of their inexperience with using technology. Many older citizens have social media accounts, surf the internet, and use credit cards online. Unlike the younger generation, older adults are generally less aware of cybercriminals’ activities, and as such, they lack the necessary information to help them stay protected from these malicious activities. 

Cybercriminals may reach out in a non-suspicious manner. They may send a link through a legitimate email and offer to assist them with resolving issues. Or they may send an email posing as a company offering cheap vacation trips, or even coupons or prizes. 

These fake emails are called phishing. The criminal is trying to fish for victims, just like fishermen fish for bass, trout, etc. The fake emails act as their lures. Phishing is one of the main causes of all types of data breaches, credit card theft, and other cybersecurity issues.

Then, these hackers will proceed to request personal information from the unsuspecting victim. They will use the information generated to access their credit cards and defraud them if successful. 

Scams targeting the elderly population are becoming rampant in the United States, and their effect on them is damaging. For online criminals, scamming the elderly can bring easy monetary rewards. 

One way to protect yourself from these malicious activities is to use the SLAM method of phishing detection. SLAM is an acronym that represents:

  • Sender
  • Links
  • Attachment
  • Message 

How To Identify Dangerous Emails Using The SLAM Method

SLAM is an acronym that guides you to identify if an email is fraudulent. With it, you can easily recognize when cybercriminals use emails to carry out a phishing attempt. 

S- Sender

As a rule, pay attention to the sender’s email address. Cybercriminals often use the email address of a trusted entity to carry out phishing attacks. So, don’t be in haste to open the email. It is best to ascertain the validity of the sender’s email address. You can do this by hovering your mouse over the sender’s name. It gives you appropriate information on the sender. 

Cybercriminals often make little adjustments to the email addresses they want to use in carrying out a phishing attack. Look out for spelling errors or additional letters in the email addresses. If something doesn’t look right, then it probably isn’t.

L- Link

Many phishing emails have links in them. These links prompt the recipients to click on them so that they can reveal sensitive or personal information. Sometimes, the link in the phishing mail looks helpful and could even offer assistance in resolving bank, health, or payment issues. The link then redirects the user to a login page that may look very similar to one they are used to seeing. This is called a spoofed login page. It’s made to trick the victim into inputting their username and password for a specific site.


Malicious attachments are standard in phishing emails. To stay safe, it is not advisable to open any attachments in your emails that you aren’t absolutely sure are safe and from a legitimate source. When you download a malicious attachment, it enables hackers to gain access to your device and compromise it. Therefore, don’t open an attachment in your email unless you confirm it is authentic.

M- Message

This represents the content of the email. Although many scammers have become very sophisticated in sending messages, many phishing emails have recognizable flaws such as misspellings, punctuation and capitalization errors, wrong or mis-formatted dates, and generic/non-personalized greetings.

Take the phishing quiz to see if you can spot phishing emails

Test how well you can follow the SLAM method by taking the following quiz which will open in a new tab: Phishing Quiz

Before conversing with a stranger/potential scammer, contact us if you have questions about a suspicious email, text or phone call.