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Issue #828: June 4-10, 2023

Q: My question is regarding an orange pop up that appears at the top of my screen every time I open my email in Windows 10.  It states: “Account notice: We’ve run into a problem with your Microsoft 365 subscription and we need your help to fix it.”   There is a “FIX” button and a “x” delete button.

In early March of this year we received the notice that our $99.99 subscription was due by automatically withdrawing from our checking account.  We have done this for the past few years.  In late March we received notice that the withdrawal could not be processed through the credit card number on file.  Oooops!  We had changed credit card number and not informed Microsoft.  We went into our Microsoft account and updated with the new credit card number.  In late March we received notice the payment had gone through and it has since cleared on our bank statement.

I just hit the “X” every time I see this pop up, but wonder if there is more I need to do to get rid of this.  We can’t seem to find a phone number for customer service with a live person equipped to handle this problem.

I don’t understand a lot about computer questions/answers in your columns, but you have helped me in the past so I’ll keep on reading!

 – Connie P.
Destin, Florida

A:  Thanks, Connie.  With the countless millions, perhaps billions of Microsoft products fielded across the globe, support numbers (especially free ones) are for all intents, non-existent.  You’re much better off writing to me.

The first thing I thought of upon reading your submission is that I hope you carefully verified those e-mails before you started clicking on them and then submitting your credit card information.  One very common phishing scam is to blast out an e-mail that claims an account or service has been disabled, and then require you to re-establish your account or payment details. If they send out enough of them, eventually a few are going to land in the inbox of someone that actually uses the service, and those people often can be easily fooled. The sites that the e-mails lead to can be very convincing, often looking quite similar to or even exactly like the actual site.  They even have the nerve to include copyright notices at the bottom!  Now of course, people want their account to work properly, so often times without checking where that link leads, or looking at the URL that loads in the address bar, or doing any kind of verification, they give away the keys to the kingdom by entering their login credentials, or worse, their credit card details.  I say all of that as a warning to anyone who might read your tale, Connie, and encounter something similar. You obviously knew your payment information had changed and followed the legitimate path to update it.  Someone else might not be so lucky.

I did some research on your problem, and as you stated, one common cause of the message “Account Notice: We’ve run into a problem with Microsoft 365 subscription and we need your help to fix it.” is the payment method that they have on file becoming invalid, for whatever reason.  Sometimes, even though you fix a problem like this, the notification is stuck there, and you need to take some steps to get rid of it.  One thing I might suggest is to try that “Fix” button that you mentioned.  It probably leads to an online wizard that will go through and try to detect the “problem” that they mentioned.  If and when it doesn’t find anything, the logical thing to do would be to reset the orange pop-up you’re receiving.

If that fix doesn’t work for you, there are other steps that Microsoft recommends.  You can read all about them at TinyURL.com/IGTM-0828.  Be sure and follow all of the instructions there, and hopefully your orange box will soon be a distant memory.


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