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Outlook users express alarm as inboxes flood with spam

It wasn’t just the American people who took off Presidents’ Day on Monday. Microsoft’s Outlook spam filters also took a break, judging by the number of complaints from people left wading through an unusually high number of junk emails that had escaped the filtering process and ended up in their inboxes.

The web version of Microsoft’s Outlook email service, formerly known as Hotmail, appeared to begin malfunctioning early on Monday when people’s inboxes began filling up with spam instead of it going straight to the junk folder as would normally happen.

Many affected users hit social media to express their frustration at having to waste time dealing with so many unwanted messages, an annoyance that included being notified by their phone each time one of them arrived.

Microsoft support staff did their best to respond to each complaint, usually with a message saying that the team was aware of the error and was working to resolve it.

Several posters suggested that the spam problem had been pretty bad for several days or even weeks, but that on Monday, it seemed as if the filtering system had completely broken down.

As the problem played out, one annoyed user wrote: “What is up with Outlook Live? I’m getting SPAM at a rate of about 30 spam emails an hour. I keep reporting ‘JUNK,’ but they keep on coming.”

Another said: “Did Outlook wake up today and decide ‘today’s the day we turn off the spam filters?’”

The Outlook inbox of author and historian Hallie Rubenhold appeared to be particularly affected, with Rubenhold taking to social media to say: “I’m being bombarded. Someone, please make it stop!”

On Monday evening, Outlook’s Twitter account started sending out this message to affected users: “Thanks for reaching out. We apologize for any inconvenience this caused. The issue has been resolved. If you are still experiencing issues, please DM us for assistance.” It has yet to say what caused the filtering system to break down.

It does appear that the problem has indeed been fixed, though impacted users may still need time to clear up the mess in a bid to get their inboxes looking good again. Still annoyed? There are alternatives to Outlook.

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Trevor Mogg
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