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Microsoft security alert
© Aaron Amat |
Security & privacy

Don’t ignore this warning from Microsoft – It’s real

There are plenty of ways that scammers can entice you to give up valuable information. One common trick is phishing attacks, where criminals send you an email with malicious links or attachments.

The email usually urges you to log in to an account to verify your details, correct an online purchase or reset your password. But with spam making up almost 90% of all emails sent, it’s easy to dismiss them when they land in your inbox.

That’s not the case with a security alert that might be sitting in your inbox right now. Keep reading for details on this serious message and ways to spot spam emails.

Here’s the backstory

If your email provider doesn’t have adequate spam protection, there could be more malicious emails in your primary inbox than the spam folder. Luckily, services such as Gmail and Outlook have relatively robust systems to prevent them from clogging up your inbox.

But no system is perfect, and sometimes a spam email or two doesn’t get flagged. That’s when things get tricky, especially if it comes from a well-known company like Microsoft. Over the last few days, many people received an email with a stark warning of a potential breach.

Credit: Microsoft

“We think that someone else might have accessed (your) Microsoft account. When this happens, we require you to verify your identity with a security challenge,” reads the email. There is a Recover Account button below the text to complete the verification.

The email has all the hallmarks of spam. For example, there are three different fonts; some text doesn’t align, and the reply email address seems vague or generic. In addition, the signature at the bottom only says The Microsoft account team.

But do not ignore the email if you get it. It’s not spam. It’s a genuine warning from Microsoft.

What you can do about it

If you get this email, it is legitimately from Microsoft. The email has an actual warning about an account breach, so don’t ignore it.

In addition, there is an example of the email in Microsoft 365 Security documentation, so you can verify the authenticity if you are worried that it’s a phishing email.

It is challenging to figure out which emails are spam and which ones are legitimate. But this email proves that you shouldn’t dismiss all communications immediately.

Here are some ways that you can check if an email is spam:

  • Hover your mouse cursor over any links. In the bottom left of your browser is the link preview. Check that it goes to where it says.
  • Never download attachments from people you don’t trust.
  • Ensure that the sender and reply email address is legitimate. If it seems a bit odd, then it’s probably spam.  

Now that you have some ways to spot spam emails, here are five simple ways to stop spam for good.

Keep reading

Patch your PC! Zero-day, 84 flaws fixed in the latest Windows update

Malware in the mail: Scammers are sending out fake Microsoft software

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