I am attempting to write a warning message for an email program.

My users have informed me that the message sounds unofficial and somewhat scammy.

WARNING: The sender of this email is from someone from outside of your organization, yet the email has a similar display name to someone from within your organization. The message is likely a scam email. Please do not reply and forward the message to Help Desk.

How can I improve that message so that it sounds as official as possible?

  • 2
    My company just puts "[External]" in red bold text at the beginning, no extra instructions provided. There are some legitimate reasons to use external email (e.g., sending myself a reminder, telling my boss I am sick and cannot come to work), so it makes more sense to provide the information without the judgement "Iikely a scam email."
    – Justin
    May 8, 2020 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


I think this is a matter of opinion.

Personally I would write something like:

WARNING: This message has originated from an external source. Do not reply. Forward to the help desk.

That is keep it as succinct as possible as people tend to be lazy and not read long sentences properly, so official messages tend to get to the point.

Following this logic, it is unnecessary to explain yourself may be a scam, similar display name etc.

Also note the omission of please, as typically you want to instruct the user, not give them a choice by asking.

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