Microsoft keeps an eye on your account access to help prevent another person from signing in without your permission. When we detect a sign-in attempt from a new location or device, we add a second layer of protection and send you email message and SMS alerts. This may happen if you sign in to your account while traveling, or if you install a new app that signs in with your account.
We let you know about an unusual sign-in attempt in two ways:
- A message about detecting something unusual and helping us protect your account when you try to sign in. You can still sign in by receiving a security code.
- An email message about detecting unusal sign-in activity. To help verify the source of this message, check the sender. A legitimate email message should originate from the Microsoft account team at email@example.com.
If you received an unusual activity notice while sending email in Outlook, see Unusual activity in Outlook for more info.
We may have blocked your sign in if you're using a new device in a new location. This security measure helps keep your account safe in case someone else gets your account information and tries to sign in as you. To unlock your account, follow the instructions on the sign-in screen by selecting where we can send you a security code. Once you receive the code, enter it to access your account.
If you’re traveling and can’t access the email or phone that you have associated with your account, try the following:
- If you brought a device you normally sign-in to with you and have set as a trusted device, you can sign in from that device and get back into your account.
- If you left your phone at home and know someone who has access to it, ask them to tell you the security code sent to the device.
If these options aren't available, you'll be able to get back in to your account once you sign in from a trusted device or a usual location.
If you received an email alerting you to an unusual sign-in attempt on your account, but you haven't done anything different with your account recently, follow these steps to review your account security:
- Sign in to the Security basics page for your Microsoft account.
- Select Review activity to check for any unusual sign-in attempts. If you see account activity that you're sure wasn't yours, flag it on the recent activity page and we'll help you secure your account.
- If you think someone else may have accessed your account, go back to the Security basics page and select Change password. Create a strong password that you can remember, and don't share it with anybody else.
If you tried to sign in to your account but can't, your password may have been changed by someone else. Follow these steps to get back into your account:
- Try to reset your password with the instructions listed in When you can't sign in to your Microsoft account.
- If that doesn't work, try to sign in to your account again. Select Forgot my password on the sign-in page, and then I think someone else is using my Microsoft account. Follow the instructions to recover your account. The article Recover your Microsoft account walks through the process and includes tips to make sure you can successfully get back into your account.
Article ID: 13967 - Last Review: 03-Aug-2017 - Revision: 34