Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which download malware or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, are nothing new. They are a staple of identity thieves and scammers and with good reason because they work. Reproduced below is a copy of a new phishing email presently circulating that appears to come from Microsoft on behalf of Outlook. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS. Microsoft is a popular target for this type of phishing email because its products including Outlook are used by millions of people. Like so many phishing emails, this one attempts to lure you into responding by making you think there is an emergency to which you must respond or your account will be deleted. As phishing emails go, this one is pretty good. It looks legitimate. However, the email address from which it was sent is that of an individual totally unrelated to Microsoft and is most likely the address of an email account of someone whose email account was hacked and made a part of a botnet of computers used by scammers to send out phishing emails. The grammar and spelling is good although there are a couple of minor capitalization mistakes and a missing comma. Also, as so often is the case, the email is not directed to you by name. It carries a professional looking photograph, but that is meaningless..
we’re updating the Microsoft Services Agreement and the Microsoft Privacy Statement. We want to take this opportunity to notify you about these updates for your safety.
If you do not update your Microsoft account within 24 hours your account will be deactivated and deleted from our server and you will no longer have access to many of the outlook.com features for improved Conversations.
Take a minute to update your account for a faster, safer and full-featured Microsoft Outlook experience and to avoid your account being De-Activated.
|Update Your Account|
Thank you for using Microsoft services.
Microsoft respects your privacy. To learn more, please read our Privacy Statement.
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
There are a number of indications that this is not a legitimate email from Microsoft, but instead is a phishing email. Legitimate companies would specifically direct the email to you by your name. This one has a generic “Dear Outlook.com User.” As with all phishing emails, two things can happen if you click on the links provided. Either you will be sent to a legitimate looking, but phony webpage where you will be prompted to input personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft or, even worse, merely by clicking on the link, you may download keystroke logging malware that will steal all of your personal information from your computer or smartphone and use it to make you a victim of identity theft. If you receive an email like this and think it may possibly be legitimate, merely call Microsoft’s customer service department at 1-800 – 642-7676 where you can confirm that it is a scam, but make sure that you dial the telephone number correctly because scammers have been known to buy phone numbers that are just a digit off of the legitimate numbers for companies to trap you if you make a mistake in dialing the real number.