Outlook.com email spam and phishing attempts is getting ridiculous.

Did Microsoft switch all the junk, spam and phishing detectors off on outlook.com? This service has been getting worse and worse for months, but has now reached a point where every day I’m having to clear repeated and really obvious scams. Reporting the junk/phishing attacks has zero affect and would appear to be a pointless exercise on my part.

So does anyone have the inside line on what’s occurring and why?

I’m giving it a little longer but I can see myself switching to another email service to process and filter out the junk if it carries on like this. Its really poor.

Conversation 31 comments

  • minke

    20 October, 2020 - 6:30 am

    <p>IMHO Gmail has always been superior in blocking junk, spam, phishing attempts, etc., but Outlook.com has been OK. The main problem I have with Outlook is it sending good emails into the Junk folder no matter what I do. My own domain emails often end up there. It is to the point that I have to constantly check the Junk folder for legitimate email. I am seeing some more bad emails coming in, but I think it is mainly due to where your own email address is shared. For example, if it appears anywhere on your website you get a lot of Junk.</p>

    • peterc

      Premium Member
      20 October, 2020 - 8:08 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587321">In reply to Minke:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree about gmail, I do wonder if I may have to return there. Outlook sends so much good email to my junk folder I also have to check it regularly, but curiosuly, the emails i'm having alot of problems with in terms of phishing are coming as amazon and paypal email scams, and it appears whatever I do to block/report them they don't go to my junk folder. When reading the content of the emails its so obvious they are scams but for whatever reason the Outlook.com Spam/security systems isn't picking them up. I'm very sure gmail would…. </p>

    • j5

      Premium Member
      20 October, 2020 - 9:36 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587321">In reply to Minke:</a></em></blockquote><p>I also have a Gmail account, and old school invite version. And the phishy/spam email that have been coming through my Outlook account are going through in Gmail too. I always hear that Gmail is better. But I'm not so sure. I'm wondering if people thing it's better because their spam folder is maybe filled with more spam. But maybe it's just filled because Gmail accounts are more popular thus they are spammed more? Kind of how Windows machines are hacked more because there's more of them out there. I could be wrong but I've had Gmail from the jump and as far as spam protection goes compared to Outlook.com I'd say they're the same.</p>

    • robincapper

      20 October, 2020 - 11:21 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587321">In reply to Minke:</a></em></blockquote><p>Re Junking good emails: the only thing have found helps is in Outlook.com web go to that mail in the Junk folder and on the message <strong>… &gt; Add email to Safe Senders</strong></p><p>Doing anything in the clients (Outlook, Windows Mail etc) just seems to impact a message</p>

    • phil_adcock

      21 October, 2020 - 12:24 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587321">In reply to Minke:</a></em></blockquote><p>I've been having this issue with my personal Gmail account for months. To the point I've considered turning off notifications even though I still actively use it. My Gsuite account however doesn't appear to be affected.</p>

      • minke

        21 October, 2020 - 2:19 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#587565">In reply to Phil_Adcock:</a></em></blockquote><p>Gmail has been my main account since 2006 and I rarely get any spam or phishing emails in my Inbox. I can't remember the last time one showed up there. I see plenty in the Spam folder that Gmail has put there automatically.</p>

  • Paul Thurrott

    Premium Member
    20 October, 2020 - 9:23 am

    <p>I've been tweeting about this lately but it's been happening for months. Huge problem.</p>

    • tdemerse

      21 October, 2020 - 12:42 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587356">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>Do you remember a number of years ago this happened, and eventually they came out and admitted it was a bug that was seemingly fixed overnight? I remember it vividly, but cannot find any proof to that end.</p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        22 October, 2020 - 8:52 am

        That sounds vaguely familiar. But I don’t understand how a problem with this scope hasn’t been fixed quickly. It’s so obvious and pointless.

  • sykeward

    20 October, 2020 - 12:50 pm

    <p>This has been *terrible* for me over the past several weeks. I get about 4 emails a day in my inbox claiming to be from Amazon, Apple, Kroger, Netflix, Disney+, etc etc. It absolutely baffles me because it's so obviously spam and yet the only things that seem to be routed to the junk folder reliably are the legit emails from my kids' teachers.</p>

  • gregsedwards

    Premium Member
    20 October, 2020 - 1:09 pm

    <p>Yep, I've noticed a definite uptick in the past couple of weeks. And it's very obvious phishing/spam content. Yet I'm still getting a ton of stuff in my Junk folder, and most of it looks equally fishy. </p>

  • waethorn

    20 October, 2020 - 2:28 pm

    <p>I haven't used Outlook.com for years. I bought my own personal email domain a few years back and used it with various web hosts alongside my business email and website. I haven't had spam even show up (not even in the Junk folder) since then. Currently, I'm using ProtonMail. It's not for everyone, but I appreciate the PGP encryption options. I use a non-synced address book and calendar with it, both of which are backed up locally.</p>

  • dftf

    20 October, 2020 - 8:27 pm

    <p>While most e-mails do correctly go into the Junk folder for me, there increasingly is becoming more of them in there each passing month.</p><p><br></p><p>Desktop Outlook (and Outlook Express) offers options to block all e-mails in certain language encodings, from specific countries (based on the end of the e-mail addresses, e.g. .de, .ru, .cn) and to block entire domains.</p><p><br></p><p>Sadly, web Outlook offers none of these: you can block specific servers, but not entire domains, which is of little-use as spammers often use many random sub-domains.</p><p><br></p><p>There is a setting for junk to only allow e-mails from your contacts, which then will block everything else, but that requires you having to manually enter e-mail addresses ahead-of-time to ensure you get ones you want. And will prevent some first-time contacts…</p>

  • j5

    Premium Member
    20 October, 2020 - 9:31 pm

    <p>I've been getting a lot of phishy spam coming through lately too. </p>

  • johnlavey

    Premium Member
    21 October, 2020 - 12:12 am

    <p>YES. I like Outlook.live.com but despise the spam that litters my mailbox. What I have been doing lately is opening the spam message and then clicking on BLOCK. Then I hit delete. I think this is helping cut down on the spam….but some entity at the Outlook organization needs to do something to stop the spam. But maybe if spam doesn't affect revenue, then the entity at Microsoft/Outlook doesn't care.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    21 October, 2020 - 3:58 am

    <p>I started getting spam a couple of weeks ago. I've had my account since 1994/5 and the end of the 90s, start of the 2000s was really bad, I'd have hundreds of spam emails every day.</p><p>I am currently getting around a dozen a week, which is a dozen more than I've had for the last 10 years or so, but still way less than my personal account or work account.</p><p>The problem is, the bad guys are alway finding new ways of getting around spam filters, it is a cat and mouse game. For the human observer, the spam is obvious, for a computer, it isn't always obvious. </p>

  • Soneraxx

    21 October, 2020 - 7:23 am

    <p>The thing that has been working for me is the following. I only use outlook.com in a browser (no desktop client). Only safe contacts arrive in my inbox, all the rest in my junk e-mail. </p><p><br></p><p>When I look into my junk e-mail I DON'T click/open the junk messages but just empty the complete folder after filtering any non junk e-mails. </p><p><br></p><p>I've been doing this for a while and I went from a couple of hundred junk e-mails a day to nearly zero. </p><p><br></p><p>My guess: when you open an e-mail, the spammer knows that your e-mail address is an existing e-mailaddress…</p>

    • peterc

      Premium Member
      21 October, 2020 - 8:18 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587623">In reply to Soneraxx:</a></em></blockquote><p>now thats interesting. So use outlook.com site in a browser, rather than say ios or android app or desktop client. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • illuminated

    21 October, 2020 - 11:49 am

    <p>Would be interesting to see what you are getting. I had one instance where overzealous sender was marked as spam and started going directly to the junk folder. Overall I am quite happy with outlook filtering but there are some new phishing emails that look very authentic and get through filters. </p>

    • peterc

      Premium Member
      21 October, 2020 - 12:44 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587699">In reply to illuminated:</a></em></blockquote><p>Mine is all Amazon and PayPal branded phishing scams. Clearly fake. Spelling and grammar is atrocious and sender details clearly dodgy. </p>

  • anoldamigauser

    Premium Member
    21 October, 2020 - 1:28 pm

    <p>Most of the junk mail I am receiving lately should be stopping on November 4.</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      21 October, 2020 - 7:49 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587709">In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:</a></em></blockquote><p>Don't you wish. After the 4th it will be give me money for my legal team to make sure every vote is counted. Then it will start for the midterms.</p>

  • Adlton

    21 October, 2020 - 2:14 pm

    <p>I get so many phishing attempts for Netflix, PayPal and Amazon that is is getting beyond ridiculous. There are few of them almost every day.</p><p><br></p><p>Nothing of sorts on my Gmail and Gsuite.</p>

    • kcarson97404

      Premium Member
      21 October, 2020 - 7:05 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587717">In reply to Adlton:</a></em></blockquote><p>Same here. Netflix and Paypal phishing attempts just about every day in my Outlook inbox. Clicking on the "Report Junk" every time, and they still keep showing up. It has gotten much worse in the last month or two. </p>

  • StevenLayton

    21 October, 2020 - 2:40 pm

    <p>Is Microsoft getting worse, or are the Spammers and Phishers just getting better?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      22 October, 2020 - 8:51 am

      Probably both.

  • will

    Premium Member
    21 October, 2020 - 5:57 pm

    <p>I am 100% experiencing the same thing. For the past few months I thought it was something that I did, or turned off, that has allowed so much "junk" to be in the Inbox and not the Junk folder or deleted. I have been using the report junk and phishing options as well and I am not sure it is doing anything. Some days I am getting more than the day before, some days less, but there is always stuff showing up. </p><p><br></p><p>This feels like something at a service level was changed, turned off, or broken, and it has not been fixed since then. Somehow this stuff, and it is very obvious it is junk, is getting though.</p><p><br></p><p>The only part of this that is working is it is showing up in OTHER, and not my Focused Inbox currently.</p>

  • ourmaninny

    21 October, 2020 - 7:25 pm

    <p>I think the spammers have figured something out to evade the filters. I'm also seeing more spam on my non-outlook.com accounts that never used to make it through.</p><p><br></p><p>More maddening with Outlook.com, some mail is sent to junk, while other mail is delivered normally EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE FROM THE SAME SENDER.</p><p><br></p><p>The emails that have been sent to junk, then subsequently marked "not junk", should indicate that email from those senders isn't spam at all. But some of the "junk" mails continue to come from previously marked "not junk" senders. </p><p><br></p><p>WTF Microsoft?</p>

  • MacLiam

    Premium Member
    21 October, 2020 - 7:52 pm

    <p>Same experiences here. Lots of childishly inept spam and phishing attempts at the rate of four to six a day, and occasional instances of email from trusted sources ending up in the junk folder. I can understand a one-time mis-evaluation that led to throwing away an email that was good, but why would it ever happen again with that correspondent if I mark it "Not Junk" and tell Outlook "Always trust mail from (this person)." Yet it <em>has </em>happened again. More than once.</p><p><br></p><p>I used to file phishing reports with Microsoft as well as notify the spoofed businesses (Paypal, Netflix, Apple, etc.), so they have multiple exemplars available from me and, I am sure, tens of thousands of other reporters. I don't bother any more. They have what they need to stop. All they need to do now is find a way to make proper use of their resources.</p>

  • infloop

    Premium Member
    23 October, 2020 - 1:44 am

    <p>I resorted to selecting what used to be called the Explicit setting*, where anything that is not in the Safe Senders/Domains/Mailing lists or Contacts list would get thrown into the Junk Email folder. Which means that every new email that I get, e.g. from a new service, or if they use a different From address, would end up in the Junk Email folder. Then if it is something I want, I would either add it to one of the "Safe" lists or create a new Contact for it, and move it to my Inbox. Yes, it is an inconvenience to have to check it periodically.</p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">For my contacts situation, since I use an iPhone, I have opted to create any contacts that I want in iCloud and let it synchronize it to my devices. These would largely consist of the ones that have a phone number that I may need to call.</span></p><p><br></p><p>Similar to what Soneraxx said, I also do not click on any of the spam emails and click on Empty Folder when I am done with taking out the legitimate emails. That also means turning off the Reading Pane so that it's not auto loading the emails. I use the Outlook.com website installed as a web app in Edge on desktop for full access, while on mobile I use the Outlook app and largely limit it to basic tasks on the Inbox (view, compose, reply, move/archive, or delete).</p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">*It looks like now the settings page has been changed to just two checkboxes on the bottom for "Junk email" under "Filters," both of which I have checked.</span></p>

  • techguy33

    23 October, 2020 - 12:51 pm

    <p>Same. It's not like these are sophisticated attempts. Most of these phishing mails are in comically bad broken English. Why can't the filters detect them?</p>


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