Tribune Publishing Dangles Fake Raises to Employees in Phishing Scam Test

Ryan Phillips
Sep 23, 2020, 4:19 PM EDT
Tribune Company Spins Off Newspapers From Broadcast Parent Company
Tribune Company Spins Off Newspapers From Broadcast Parent Company / Scott Olson/Getty Images
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Tribune Publishing just pulled one of the most despicable stunts we've seen from a media company in a long, long time. And that's saying something.

The media giant has spent the last few years cutting staff at newspapers across the country, leaving workers underpaid and overworked. On Wednesday the company sent out emails to employees suggesting they would be getting raises for all their hard work. It turns out it was a test to see how susceptible they were to a phishing scam. Needless to say, the employees were furious.

Here are a few of their responses:

One of the emails, obtained by The Big Lead, shows the sender as HR and begins with the words "Congradulations" [sic]. Clicking on the simulated phishing test led to automatic enrollment in a training session on such attempts to be completed in the coming weeks, multiple emails reviewed by The Big Lead show.

This is truly an awful, wildly insensitive thing for Tribune to have done. After years of being beaten down by budget cuts, they dangled raises in front of employees as a way to test for a phishing scam. Almost every other method would have been preferable. Impossible to defend such a decision.

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