I just got an email in my inbox from “Gmail support” with the subject “Important Update.”
That was the first red flag, as Gmail almost never sends important updates through email, they embed them directly into the site, usually in an alert banner across the top that you can dismiss, or links in the upper right hand side.
Another red flag is that it didn’t have the “verified” padlock symbol net to it, an option you can enable in Google Labs to ensure you that emails from sites that malicious hackers often try this stuff with, like PayPal and eBay, are actually sent from those domains.
Opening the email, I noticed, as did Wired Science Blogger Rhett Allain, that the email didn’t automatically open with images. An email from the Google staff would have. Clicking “view images” presented this email: