woman speaking with caption 'because yesterday I got an email' (l) phishing email icon on phone in hand (c) woman speaking with caption 'and I'm like terminate' (r)

Sadi-Santos/Shutterstock @lorntok/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Terminate?’: Worker says corporate sent her a phishing test that made her think she was getting fired

'I did start to cry.'


Melody Heald


Posted on Mar 7, 2024   Updated on Mar 6, 2024, 2:50 pm CST

Phishing tests are often deployed in workplaces to gauge how an employee would react to a scam attempt. Workplaces have a great interest in making sure their workers are aware of how to spot such scams as the consequences for them can be dire. Workers who fall for such scams may give away important company information. However, one employee learned that phishing tests can also have dire consequences for the workers, too.

TikToker @lorntok said she received a phishing test email—though she didn’t know it at the time—telling her she was terminated. Her video was viewed 15,000 times.

“This is just a heads up. You know how your company, like, tells you to look out for phishing attempts and just be aware if scam artists are trying to hit your inbox, OK?” she started.

She said the previous day she received an email from what appeared to be DocuSign, which is a platform companies and people use to sign documents. She said the subject line read: “terminate,” along with her name.

She said she successfully spotted it as a scam and brushed it off at first before thinking twice about it.

“But then I started to panic. I did start to cry ’cause I was like, ‘What if they are actually terminating me?’” she shared of her internal dialogue.

She said she eventually received an email from HR saying that the workplace sent her that email by error. “Somebody from HR messages me, and she’s, like, ‘Hey. That was an accident. We just picked a name at random,'” she shared.

“You picked a name at random? Well, you picked the wrong person because I cried!” she exclaimed at the camera.

@lorntok corporate slayyyy #corporatebaddie #phishing ♬ original sound – lil pap smear

The Daily Dot reached out @lorntok via TikTok comment. While the email was not real, the stress it caused was. Viewers urged the TikToker to take further action.

“Yeah I’d have talked to every single manager until someone else gets canned for that,” one viewer wrote.

“Miss girl,,, I would start looking for jobs. HR usually has sandboxes for that,” a second stated.

HR workers also shared how this type of phishing test email wouldn’t fly at their respective workplaces.

“I got to pick the phishing tests for my office and we didn’t have ANY options like that,” one user commented.

“That is horrible. As someone who works in HR I always test new processes on people on my team after I got their permission,” a second stated.

@lorntok joins @thediscoloft in the ranks of receiving eyebrow-raising phishing test emails. In March of 2023, @thediscoloft received what they thought was a Starbucks gift card from their workplace. The $25 token of appreciation from their workplace turned out to be a phishing test email, leading the worker to come to the conclusion that they should have known better since their “company would never be that nice!”

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Sign up now for free
Share this article
*First Published: Mar 7, 2024, 2:00 am CST