In a rather ironic twist, this phishing scam message uses the threat of phishing as a cover story designed to trick people into divulging their email account login details. The email, which purports to be from the IT Department for Microsoft Outlook, claims that new security updates are being implemented ‘due to the rate of phishing’.
It urges you to click a link to sign into the ‘IT Help server’ so that your mailbox can be updated. The message warns that, if you do not update your mailbox as requested, your account will be made inactive.
Of course, the email is not from Microsoft or any legitimate IT department. If you do click the link, you will be taken to a fake Microsoft Account login page and asked to supply your email address and password. But, alas, if you ‘login’ on the fake page, cybercriminals can collect your login credentials and use them to hijack your real Microsoft Account. Once they have gained access, the criminals can use your email account to launch spam and scam campaigns in your name. They can also access and take control of any other Microsoft services connected to the account.
Be wary of any email that claims that you must click a link or open an attached file to perform an account update or deal with a supposed account issue. It is always safest to login to all of your online accounts by entering the account address into your web browser or via an official account app.
Subject: HELP DESK
ATTN: Outlook Webmail Users,
New security updates need to be performed on our servers, due to the rate of phishing. Please CLICK HERE and sign in to the IT Help server for maintenance and update of your mailbox.
If your mailbox is not updated soon, Your account will be inactive and cannot send or receive messages.
On behalf of the IT department, this IT Alert Notification was brought to you by the Help Desk Department. please do not ignore this notification, because its very compulsory.
©2016 Microsoft outlook. All rights reserved.
Last updated: February 1, 2016
First published: February 1, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!