GoDaddy used a holiday bonus email as a phishing scam test. SIGH.


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I can’t quite think of a worse way for a company to test whether its employees will fall for a phishing scam than by sending out an email notifying them that they’d be receiving a holiday bonus, especially in the December month of a year beset by a global pandemic. But GoDaddy appears to think otherwise, because that’s exactly what it did.

A copy of the email, which was first sent out on Dec, 14, was recently obtained by 12 News which read:

“Happy Holiday GoDaddy! 2020 has been a record year for GoDaddy, thanks to you!

Though we cannot celebrate together during our annual Holiday Party, we want to show our appreciation and share a $650 one-time Holiday bonus! To ensure that you receive your one-time bonus in time for the Holidays, please select your location and fill in the details by Friday, December 18th.”

12 News notes that the email was sent out after GoDaddy’s employees had already been told they weren’t receiving a bonus in 2020. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, this also happened months after the company announced lay-offs across the country.

GoDaddy employees told 12 News that the company hosted a town hall following the incident and many workers anonymously expressed the idea that the test was tone deaf. The same criticism quickly spread online as word of the test made the rounds.

Look, it makes sense for a company to want to stay on top of training its employees to be able to identify phishing scams. And considering GoDaddy experienced its own data breach this year, it’s extra important that it learns from its mistakes.

But there are so many other ways it could’ve gone about this, especially just in the midst of the holidays during a pandemic, where times are already tough and receiving good news feels rare.

We’ve reached out to GoDaddy for comment and will update this story if we receive a response.





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