A study by email-marketing software firm Lyris, conducted to see whether email users could identify phishing attempts found that improperly rendered, though legitimate, emails were considered even more suspicious than the scam emails. According to the Lyris news release, an improperly rendered email from a major brand was the one most pointed to as the most suspicious message. Text emails were also were also more frequently identified as suspicious, contradicting prevailing attitudes.

The study included 100 randomly selected people who received 10 different emails. One was an improperly rendered, actual offer from a Fortune 1000 brand; two were actual phishing scam emails; the other seven were all legitimate, properly rendered email marketing messages (some were HTML, some text).

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