Self-Reporting Spam and Phishes


This article describes how to report a suspicious email in


The most efficient way to report spam and phishes is to use the built-in client self-reporting option. Collaborative Computing Solutions does not white/blacklist individual addresses nor Internet Providers (IPs).

Report suspicious emails in Outlook

The Report Message feature works with Outlook 2016 to allow users to report suspicious messages to Microsoft as well as manage how their Microsoft 365 (M365) email account treats these messages. Messages that their M365 email account marks as junk are automatically moved to the Junk Email folder. However, spammers and phishing attempts are continually evolving. If a user receives a junk email in their inbox, they can use the Report Message feature to send the message to M365 to help improve filters. If a user finds an email in their Junk Email folder that is not spam, they can use the same tool to mark it as a legitimate email, move the message to their Inbox, and report the false positive.

To use the Report Message feature:

  1. Highlight the message in question
  2. Click on the Report Message button in the Outlook ribbon.

  3. Appropriately categorize the message.

This will send a copy of the email to Microsoft 365 (M365). With it, M365 will be able to improve their machine learning, as well as automatically send a copy to the Virginia Tech Mail Team for their own evaluation.

Report suspicious emails in Outlook Web App

To report a message in Outlook Web App

  1. Select the message.
  2. Click on Junk in the main toolbar.

  3. OR right click on the email message itself and select Security options.

  4. Appropriately categorize the message.

Report suspicious emails in Gmail

If an individual is using Gmail, the reporting functionality is built into the interface.

  1. There is a stop sign with exclamation mark “Report Spam” button across the top of all emails, or
  2. Open a specific message, click the “…” more button. Choose either Report Spam or Report Phishing

For more detailed information about what phishing is and how to avoid and report these emails, refer to Google’s Help Page.

Correcting an Accidental Spam Report

If an email was incorrectly marked as spam, the following steps will allow a user to remove it from Spam.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. On the left, click Spam. If Spam is not visible, click More.
  3. Open the email.
  4. At the top of the page, click Not Spam.
To stop a message from being sent to Spam in the future, users can:

Phishes pretending to be a Virginia Tech-affiliated service that is inciting fear or other urgent action

For phishes that are pretending to be a Virginia Tech-affiliated service that is inciting fear or other urgent action (i.e., click this link or you'll lose library access), users should perform actions in this order:

  1. Self-report the phish as per the first option above and
  2. Notify other staff for awareness of the phish through methods such as a Google Group notification or other mailing list.


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