"This email is a legitimate announcement regarding updates to the Microsoft Services Agreement and Communication Preferences," a Microsoft program manager for supporting mail technologies who identifies herself as Karla L, said on the Microsoft Answers website in response to a user inquiring about the authenticity of the email message.
However, she later acknowledged the existence of reports about malicious emails that use the same template. "If you received an email regarding the Microsoft Services Agreement update and you're reading your email through Hotmail or Outlook.com, the legitimate email should have a Green shield that indicates the message is from a Trusted Sender," she said. "If the email does not have a Green shield, you can mark the email as a Phishing scam."
Hovering over the links in the legitimate version of the email should point to locations on the microsoft.com domain. Anything else should be treated as suspicious.
Reviewing the email headers can also offer clues whether the email is legitimate. For example, some samples of this rogue email message come from an IP address in China, McRee said.