How to Enable Phishing Email Protection in Outlook

A moodily-lit hand typing on a laptop keyboard.
  Andrew Brookes / Getty Images

If you have been conditioned to react to your bank's site with entering your details and credentials, what better way is there to obtain these crucial data from you than showing you a page that looks and behaves exactly like your bank's—but sends the data elsewhere.

The problem, of course, is getting you to see the page. Fortunately, there's email. In a legitimately looking email informing you about something legitimately urgent, we show you a seemingly legitimate and totally ordinary link to what you think is your bank's site but in fact is our own copy of it.

Because they are done so well, these so-called phishing emails can be hard to spot if you look only superficially—which, of course, you don't. But even if you keep your eyes open, some additional protection won't hurt.

Outlook, from 2003 SP2 onwards, contains some protection from phishing emails. If enabled, the links in identified phishing attempts don't work. Even if you half-drunk and half-asleep carelessly and recklessly click, you cannot.

Enable Phishing Email Protection in Outlook

To enable the phishing email protection built into Outlook:

  • In Outlook 2003/7:
    • Select Tools > Options from the menu in Outlook.
    • Select Junk E-mail on the Preferences tab.
  • In Outlook 2010/13:
    • Open the HOME ribbon.
    • Select Junk in the Delete section.
    • Select Junk E-Mail Options from the menu that appears.
  • On the Options tab, make sure to Disable links and other functionality in phishing messages. (Outlook 2007/10/13) or Don't turn on links in messages that might connect to unsafe or fraudulent sites. (Outlook 2003 SP2) is checked.
  • Select OK.
  • In Outlook 2003 and 2007:
    • Select OK again.
  • Keep the Outlook spam filter up to date using Microsoft or Office Update.