What Can You Do to Stop Microsoft Spam Emails

A few tips for Windows Live and Hotmail email users to stop spam, scams and hacking

By Stephen Pate – Microsoft claims that it stops 10 million scam, spam and phishing emails a minute.

It’s not enough. I get up to 10 emails a day from people  who purports to be Microsoft asking me to update my account, check my security settings or like the illustration above get the latest version of some Microsoft software.

Why can’t Microsoft filter emails that contain false claims of being from Microsoft?

There are millions of people who fall prey to these claims – the innocent, people with cognitive disabilities, the elderly.

All of these emails come on my Hotmail account, which is set to block everything from people who are not in my address book.

When I running Office 365 earlier this year, it allowed spam and scam tentative appointments to load in the Calendar. One mistake on my part and those emails could have been a portal to a virus on the computer.  At the time, the Office 365 support people did not seem to care so I dropped the product and returned to Hotmail.

Office 365 is supposed to be getting an upgrade with more security  Evolving Exchange Online Protection (EOP) to protect against tomorrow’s threats.  Microsoft has a diagram (below) that maps out their 2014 updates to security.

However, the twist on that is only people who use the more expensive Office 365 with Exchange email get those features.  It seems like a slow process when Microsoft charges a premium for Office 365 Exchange email.

I chatted with Microsoft Hotmail and Live Support and got a few suggestions but mostly those bland statements that don’t fix the problem immediately.

Microsoft: “We are aware of this issue and we are doing our best in updating our security features to protect our clients accounts.”

“We cannot control or block all of the emails from hackers. But to counter their strategies we are assuring to provide the best security for our clients accounts.”

I’m sure that Microsoft could automate the process and have it happen instantly. Protecting your 1.5 billion customers should be a prime concern for Microsoft.

Apple just got in trouble for not protecting their iCloud customers from hackers. Microsoft should be in a leadership position here.

Steps to protect your Microsoft Account

1. Use 2-step verification – “By offering the two step verification or automatically locking accounts when someone tried to access it using a different device or in a different location.”  Turn this on for your computers, phone or tablet.
2. Set security on the highest setting in Outlook.

3. Don’t click on any email that asks you to update your account or provide personal information.

4. Don’t click on or open documents from people you don’t know or trust. If a friend has their emailed hacked and sends you an infected file, you are next for the infection.

5. Emails that promise money, nude photos or offers that are too good to be true are likely infected spam.  Curb your enthusiasm, as Larry David advised.

6. Install and keep up-to-date a virus checker like Avast free and allow it to scan your emails and attachments.

7. Install the Microsoft Junk E-mail Reporting Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook. This won’t stop spam but it does report the offending email to Microsoft.

Microsoft has a page of other suggestions Deal with abuse, phishing, or spam in Outlook.com with these and other suggestions.  There is no easy answer other than to learn how to protect yourself and be vigilant.

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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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