Is that subject line safe? LinkedIn phishing scams most clicked with a 47% open rate in Q3 2020

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According to data from Atlas VPN, emails with the keyword “LinkedIn” in the subject line topped the list of most opened social media phishing emails for the third year in a row. In Q3 2020, LinkedIn phishing emails had a 47% open rate — only a 1% drop from the same period last year.


Top-clicked LinkedIn phishing emails include subject lines like “You appeared in new searches this week!”, “People are looking at your LinkedIn profile”, “Please add me to your Linkedin network”, and “Join my network on LinkedIn”.


The second most-opened social media phishing emails include the keyword “Twitter”. Emails with the subject line “Someone has sent you a direct message on Twitter!” had a 15% open rate.


Phishing attacks exploiting Twitter were followed by Facebook phishing scams. Emails titled “Your friend tagged you in photos on Facebook” had a 12% click rate.

Payroll phishing emails were the most opened last quarter

Cybercriminals often target employees, as social engineering and phishing attacks on businesses are more lucrative. As well, administrative or notification emails are easily imitated and look like dozens of messages employees see day after day.


Thus it won’t come as a surprise that the top most opened phishing emails in the third quarter of this year were payroll emails. Emails titled “Payroll Deduction Form” had an impressive 33% open rate.


As the worldwide pandemic continues, COVID-19 themed emails effectively lured people into phishing traps. Emails with the keywords “COVID-19” and “pandemic” saw a 32% open rate.


To read the full study, visit

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