Managing and Reporting Spam and Phishing Messages in Outlook

IT Services utilizes the anti-spam and anti-phishing capabilities of Microsoft 365, which block delivery of unwanted e-mails to your inbox in Outlook. You can manage some elements of this service using the Outlook Junk Filter settings, including enabling higher levels of filtering. You can also help to improve the effectiveness of this tool by reporting spam messages that did not already get filtered to your Junk Mail folder, and by reporting messages that are suspected phishing messages (i.e. specially crafted messages intended to trick you into disclosing your password sender so they can take over your account).  Here's an example of a typical phishing message (click on the thumbnail to see the full image):

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Users can forward spam and suspected phishing messages to

Outlook now provides users with the ability to report these messages directly to Microsoft to be analyzed by AI and automatically blocked and/or cleaned if they are found to be malicious.

To report a message through Outlook as spam or phishing:

  1. Right-click on the message to access a pop-up menu.
    • If the message in question is an unsolicited advertisement, etc., select Report > Report Junk 
    • If the message in question contains a link to a site that is asking for your password, select Report > Report Phishing

      Uploaded Image (Thumbnail)

In the latest version of desktop Outlook, you can find the Report function in two areas. 

  • Top ribbon Report drop down

Top ribbon Reporting funtion







  • Using the menu (3 dots) drop-down, access Report, choose what you would like to report

Within the email Report function









In the Outlook Classic version, you can find the Report Message function in the top ribbon. Choose what you would like to report.

Report Phishing Function









  • If you want to report it to Microsoft, select the Report for both the Phishing or Spam emails

Report Phshing and Spam emails














The Quarantine feature allows you to view and manage your quarantined messages that are suspected of being spam or malware. You can check for quarantined emails, release them from the quarantine folder and mark them as ‘not junk’ to avoid it happening again. Each time one of your incoming emails is quarantined, you will receive a notification email that includes buttons to Review Message, Release or Block Sender. You can also access the quarantine in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal at

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For more information, please see Find and release quarantined messages as a user.

Junk Email Folder

All messages deemed as spam will be delivered to the Outlook folder titled Junk Email. It's a good idea to periodically review messages in that folder to check for legitimate messages that were incorrectly classified as junk (i.e. false positives).

If you find a message that isn’t junk, mark the item as not junk by doing the following:

  1. Right-click on the message to access pop-up menu
  2. Select Junk > Not Junk

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Junk Email Filter Settings

It is possible to adjust settings on the Junk Email Filter in Outlook but the exact options and steps differ depending on which version of Outlook you are using.


Outlook Web App

Information provided in this section applies only to Outlook web app.

Adding emails to Safe and Blocked senders lists

Outlook on the Web provides a means for you to manage lists of the email addresses that you want to receive (Safe senders and domains) and those you don't (Blocked senders and domains). Email addresses and domain names in the Safe senders and domains list are never treated as junk email, regardless of the content of the message. You can add your Contacts and other correspondents to the Safe senders and domains list to confirm you'll always receive their messages in your inbox.

To add people to your Safe senders and domains list, do the following:

  1. In Outlook on the Web, open Settings by clicking on the Gear icon in the top right of the window

  2. .Then click View all Outlook settings

  3. On the window that appears, click Mail then click Junk email

  4. Under the heading for the appropriate list (Blocked senders or Safe senders) click the + Add button

    Uploaded Image (Thumbnail)
  5. Enter the email address you want to add to the list

  6. Press the Enter key to add the email address

Additional Filter Options

There are a couple of options to control what senders are considered junk or not. You can instruct Office 365 to trust only those addresses that you add to the Safe senders and domains list and / or only email sent by your contacts. Either of these options will severely limit the amount of messages delivered to your Inbox, so use with caution.

Select the appropriate checkbox. If you are going to use these options, it is a good idea to select both of them.

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Outlook Desktop App

Information provided in this section applies only to Outlook desktop app.

Change Level of Protection in Junk Email Filter

The Junk Email Filter in Outlook identifies messages that are likely junk and moves them to the Junk Email folder. You can easily enable additional junk email protection or automatically delete junk email.

By default, the personal Junk Email Filter protection in your mailbox is set to No Automatic Filtering. You can make the junk filter more aggressive (i.e. turn it up above the system-level junk mail filtering built into Office 365) so that it catches more junk messages. The higher you set the protection level, the greater the risk of some legitimate messages being identified as junk and moved to the Junk Email folder.

  1. Click Home > Junk > Junk Email Options.

  2. Choose the level of protection you want.

    • No Automatic Filtering - Default level. Only Office 365 system-wide filtering is applied. Even if you use this to turn off the additional Junk Email Filter in your mailbox, messages are still evaluated for basic security / spam identification by Office 365 and against email addresses in your Blocked Senders List.

    • Low - If you want to filter more messages that are probably junk, select this option.

    • High - If you want aggressive junk filtering, but don’t want to restrict messages to only those from senders on your safe lists, select this option. We recommend you occasionally check the Junk Email folder to make sure that a message you wanted isn’t moved in error.

    • Safe Lists Only - This is the most restrictive option. Any message that isn't from someone on your Safe Senders List or isn't to a mailing list on your Safe Recipients List, is classified as junk

Adding Emails to Safe Sender List

Email addresses and domain names in the Safe Senders List are never treated as junk email, regardless of the content of the message. You can add your Contacts and other correspondents to the Safe Senders list to confirm you'll always receive their messages in your inbox.

To add people to your Safe Senders List, do the following:

  1. On the Home > Junk Junk E-mail Options > Safe Senders tab

  2. Click Add button

  3. Enter email of your recipient

  4. Press OK

On the Safe Senders you can also click Automatically add people I email to the Safe Senders List box to ensure anyone you email is never treated as junk.

There are also instructions for Outlook for Mac and Outlook on the Web.



Article ID: 106321
Tue 4/28/20 1:51 PM
Mon 9/25/23 2:38 PM

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