What happens if there's an unusual sign-in to your account

Applies to: Microsoft account

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, sending you an email message and an SMS alert. 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:

  • When you try to sign in from an unusual location or device, you'll see a message about detecting something unusual about your sign-in. To help protect your account, we require you to provide a security code from one of your alternate contact methods. This extra step prevents people who aren't you from signing in.
  • We'll send you notifications to all of your alternate contact methods. This notification can either be an email message or a text message. If you aren't sure about the source of an email message, check the sender. A legitimate email message should originate from the Microsoft account team at account-security-noreply@accountprotection.microsoft.com.

If you signed in from a new location or installed a new app

We may have blocked your sign-in if you're using a new device or you're 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 and select where we can send you a security code. After you've 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 after you sign in from a trusted device or a usual location.

If you don't know why you got this message

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:

  1. Try to reset your password with the instructions listed in When you can't sign in to your Microsoft account.
  2. 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.

If you received an email or text 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: 

  1. Sign in to the Security basics page for your Microsoft account.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.