Enable or disable links and functionality in phishing email messages

Phishing is the malicious practice of using email messages to lure you into disclosing personal information, such as your bank account number and account password. Often, phishing messages use untrustworthy links to fake websites that request your personal information. This information can be used by criminals to steal your identity, your money, or both. Learn more about phishing schemes.

Because it can be difficult to distinguish a phishing email message from a legitimate email message, the Outlook Junk Email Filter evaluates each incoming message to see whether it includes suspicious characteristics common to phishing scams. Such characteristics can include untrustworthy links, or content common to phishing messages, or the message was sent from a spoofed (fake) email address. Suspicious message detection is always turned on in Microsoft Outlook 2010, even if other junk email filtering is turned off.

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What happens in Outlook 2010 with suspected phishing messages?

When a suspected phishing message arrives, it is processed as follows:

  • If the Junk Email Filter doesn’t consider a message to be spam but does consider it to be phishing, the message is left in the Inbox, but any links in the message are disabled and you can’t use the Reply and Reply All commands. In addition, any attachments in the suspicious message are blocked.
  • If the Junk Email Filter considers the message to be both spam and phishing, the message is automatically sent to the Junk E-mail folder. Any message sent to the Junk E-mail folder is saved in plain text format and all links are disabled. In addition, the Reply and Reply All commands are disabled and any attachments in the message are blocked.
  • If the Junk Email Filter considers the message to be both spam and phishing, and the sender (someone@example.com) or domain (@example.com) is on your Safe Senders List, the message is left in the Inbox. However, the links and attachments in the message are disabled.

The InfoBar (InfoBar: Banner near the top of an open email message, appointment, contact, or task. Tells you if a message has been replied to or forwarded, along with the online status of a contact who is using Instant Messaging, and so on.) in the message describes the action taken on the message.

InfoBar

Move suspicious messages from the Junk E-mail folder

You can move a message considered suspicious back to the Inbox. In the Reading Pane (Reading Pane: A window in Outlook where you can preview an item without opening it. To display the item in the Reading Pane, click the item.) or open message, click the InfoBar, and then click Move to Inbox.

InfoBar menu

  • The original message format is restored but the links the message contains remain disabled. In addition, the Reply and Reply All functionality remains disabled and any attachments in the message remain blocked.
  • If the Junk Email Filter considers the message to be both spam and phishing but you don't agree, open the Junk E-mail folder, right-click the message, and then click Add Sender to Safe Senders List. The message is moved to your Inbox. Disabled links remain disabled. The original message format is restored.

 Important    After you add the sender or domain to your Safe Senders List, any new messages from that sender or domain are evaluated by the filter but aren’t moved to the Junk E-mail folder. We recommend that your Safe Senders List not include banks, credit card companies, or e-commerce senders or domains, because these senders' addresses are the most frequently used by phishers.

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Turn on disabled links

If you want to enable the links in a message, do the following:

  1. In the Reading Pane or open message, click the InfoBar text at the top of the message.
  2. Click Enable links and other functionality (not recommended).

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Turn off automatic disabling of links

  1. On the Home tab, in the Delete group, click Junk, and then click Junk E-mail options.
  2. On the Options tab, clear the Disable links and other functionality in phishing messages (recommended) check box.

 Note    If you later turn on this feature, links in previous messages that were evaluated as suspicious by the Junk Email Filter are disabled.

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Turn off warnings about potentially spoofed email addresses

  1. On the Home tab, in the Delete group, click Junk, and then click Junk E-mail options.
  2. On the Options tab, clear the Warn me about suspicious domain names in e-mail addresses (recommended) check box.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2010