"Verify Microsoft Account" email scam removal guide
What is the fake "Verify Microsoft Account" email?
"Verify Microsoft Account" refers to an email spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" defines a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam letters are sent. "Verify Microsoft Account" emails are disguised as notifications from Microsoft Corporation, concerning a necessary Microsoft account verification - by missing which recipients risk having theirs deleted. It must be emphasized that these scam letters are in no way associated with the actual Microsoft Corporation. The purpose of said fake notifications is to extract users' Microsoft account log-in credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords) through a phishing website.
The "Verify Microsoft Account" scam emails (subject/title "Account Update!"; may vary) is presented as a final notification concerning the upcoming block to users' incoming emails. The reason given by the fake letters is a supposedly skipped Microsoft account verification. Recipients are warned that if they fail to verify their accounts within the next following hours - their accounts are likely to be deleted from Microsoft's databases.
The "Verify Now" button in the emails redirects to a phishing website, which is presented as the Microsoft account log-in page. Despite its legitimate appearance, the webpage is fake and its purpose is to record any information provided to (i.e. typed into) it. This site targets users' Microsoft account log-in credentials and other information connected to it (e.g. emails, phone numbers, Skype usernames, etc.). Hence, by entering any information to phishing webpages - users inadvertently expose it to scammers. To summarize, trusting "Verify Microsoft Account" letters or other scam emails - can result in account theft, system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft. If attempts to log-in through the phishing website have already been made, it is strongly advised to change the passwords of any potentially compromised accounts. It is also recommended to contact the official support of such accounts.
|Name||Verify Microsoft Account Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Scam emails notify recipients that they must verify their Microsoft accounts.|
|Symptoms||Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.|
|Damage||Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
"Emails Sync Failure", "Coinbase Email Scam", "Banco Montepio" and "eBay Email Scam" are some examples of other phishing spam campaigns. Deceptive/Scam emails are usually presented as "important", "urgent", "priority" and similar; they may even be disguised as mail from legitimate corporations, companies, institutions, organizations, service providers and other entities. Aside from phishing, such emails are also used for other scams and malware (e.g. trojan, ransomware, etc.) proliferation. Due to the relative prevalence of spam mail, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
How to avoid installation of malware?
To avoid malware spread through spam mail, it is expressly advised against opening suspect and/or irrelevant emails - especially, any attachments or links present in them. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Other popular malicious software distribution methods include: untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updaters. Therefore, it is important to always use official/verified download sources, as well as activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the fake "Verify Microsoft Account" email letter:
Subject: Account Update!
Dear Microsoft User
This is the last time we notified you that we will stop processing incoming emails in your account reasons are you failed to verify your Microsoft account which may lead to permanent delete of your account from our data-base in the next few hours.
Kindly take a minute to complete our email verification below
Important Notice- Account disconnection will take place today 12:00 Midnight if issue not resolved.
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Screenshot of the page the "Verify Now" button in the scam emails redirects to:
Screenshot of the phishing site the previous page redirects to:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Verify Microsoft Account Email Scam"?
- STEP 1. Manual removal of possible malware infections.
- STEP 2. Check if your computer is clean.
How to remove malware manually?
Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Malwarebytes for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:
If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example, using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious, you should continue with these steps:
Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:
Restart your computer into Safe Mode:
Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.
In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.
Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.
You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".
After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.
Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.
To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Malwarebytes for Windows.