Microsoft Outlook ‘Account Blocked Due to System Error’ Phishing Scam

‘Account info’ email purporting to be from Microsoft claims that your Outlook account will be blocked due to a system error and you must therefore click a link to verify the account immediately.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from Microsoft.  It is a phishing scam designed to steal your Microsoft Account login details.

Subject: ACCOUNT INFO MT476‏

Microsoft Outlook MTv9 Office.:Verification

Dear Customer,
Your account will be Blocked due to system error

If you would like to continue using your Email Address,

CLICK HERE here to Verify Your Account Now
NB: your security is our concern unblock to show content


2016 Microsoft- Terms & Privacy
Your mailbox security is our primary concern.

Sent from Outlook

Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from Microsoft, your account is about to be blocked due to a system error. The email warns IN ALL CAPS that you will completely lose your email address if you do not take action. The ‘action’ that the email speaks of is clicking a link to verify your account.

However, the email is certainly not from Microsoft and you certainly do not need to click a link in the email to verify your details and avoid an account block. This is a typical phishing scam designed to nab your Microsoft account login details.

If you do click, you will be taken to a fraudulent website designed to look like a genuine Microsoft login page. The page asks you to enter your Microsoft Account email address and password. After you have ‘signed in’ on the fake page, you may see a message claiming that you have successfully verified your account.  You may then be redirected to a genuine Microsoft website.

But, now, the criminals can collect the login credentials you submitted and use them to hijack your Microsoft Account. Once in, the criminals can use your account to launch further spam and scam campaigns in your name. They can also steal information from connected Microsoft services such as OneDrive.

Email account phishing scams like this one are very common. Keep in mind that Microsoft will never send you an unsolicited email that demands that you click a link or open an attached file to deal with a supposed account problem. It is always safest to login to all of your online accounts by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via a trusted app.

Email Phishing

Last updated: April 22, 2016
First published: April 22, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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