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Fake Office 365 Update Email Designed to Hijack Your Account

by Brett M. Christensen

Inboxes are being hit by “Office 365 Update” emails warning that your account is to be closed.

The emails, which supposedly come from the “Microsoft.com Team”,  claim that you must click an “Update Your Account” link if you wish to continue using Office 365.  It warns that if you ignore the update request, your account will be closed.

The emails are not associated with Office 365 in any way and Microsoft certainly did not send them. They are phishing scams designed to steal your Microsoft Account login details.

Here’s a screenshot of one of the scam emails:

Office 365 Update Phishing Scam Email

If you click the link, a bogus Office 365 login form will load in your browser.

Here’s what the login form looks like:

Office 365 Phishing Scam Form

 

Ironically, the fake login uses an online form service provided by Microsoft rival Google.  If you enter the requested information and click the “Submit” button”, you will see a message noting that your response has been recorded.

Criminals can now use the details you supplied to hijack your account.  Once the crooks have gained access, they can use your account to distribute scam and spam emails in your name,  access documents you have stored online, and commit further fraudulent activities.

Microsoft will never send you an email threatening to close your account if you do not click a link to log in and update details. Nor, of course, would Microsoft ever use an online form supplied by Google.

Keep in mind that 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.

This scam email is very similar to another recent scam that falsely claims that your Office 365 address needs to be updated to the 2020 version. Again, the scam email is designed to steal your account login details.

A transcript of the scam email:

Office 365 – Update

Dear user

This message is being sent to you to inform you that your account is to be closed

If you wish to continue using this account please upgrade to our services.
Ignoring this message will cause your account to be closed

Update your account

Note: Please take a few moment to update your account now

Thanks

Regards
Microsoft.com Team

 



Importance Notice

After 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 You

I 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 Date

Hoax-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!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer