Hacked Email Account

A hacked email account can be a serious security threat. Discover the warning signs of a hacked email account and how to recover.

Step 1:Recognize

Red Flags of a Hacked Email Account

There are a few warning signs that your email account has been hacked:

  • You notice strange login activity on your account – someone has been logging in from locations or devices that you don’t recognize.
  • Your contact list has changed – you see new contacts that you don’t recognize, or old contacts have been deleted.
  • You’re not receiving emails that you know you should be getting – this could be because the hacker has changed your email forwarding settings.
  • You’re seeing strange error messages when you try to log in or access certain features of your account.
  • Emails that you send are being returned to you as undeliverable.
  • You notice that messages in your inbox have been read, even though you haven’t opened them yourself.
  • Your password suddenly stops working, or you get locked out of your account for no apparent reason.
  • You see unfamiliar charges on your credit card statement that are associated with your email account.

Step 2:Immediate Actions

If you suspect that your email account is hacked, it is important to take action immediately:

  • Contact the email provider. They may be able to help you recover your account.
  • Change your password immediately. Choose a strong password that is difficult to guess.
  • Enable multi factor authentication on your account. This will add an extra layer of security to your account.
  • Change your security questions. Choose new, difficult to guess questions that only you would know the answer to.
  • Set up a password recovery option. This will allow you to regain access to your account if you forget your password.
  • Check your email settings. If any of them have been changed, reset them to the correct settings.
  • Run a virus scan on your computer. This will help to remove any malicious software that may have been installed on your system. If you find malicious software, visit our malware page.
  • Check your email filters, contacts list and sent items folder. If there are any new filters, contacts or emails that you did not send, delete them.
  • Keep a close eye on all of your accounts for any suspicious activity. If you see anything out of the ordinary, report it immediately.

Step 3:Report

Reporting any type of cybercrime, including hacked email accounts, is imperative to help others avoid being scammed. As a society, the more people that report online scams and fraud, the more national reporting data that is collected, and the better chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease cybercrime.

Step 4:Recover

How to Prevent Your Email Account from Being Hacked in the Future

  • Don’t click on any links or open any email attachments that you weren’t expecting.
  • Take advantage of all security features your email provider supplies, such as multi factor authentication, security questions and password recovery.
  • Be cautious when asked to provide personal information.
  • Be aware of personal information you share on social media. Oftentimes, hackers can use information you share on social media to answer your security questions.
  • Don’t use public networks. Instead access the internet through your cellular data plan.
  • If you want to use public networks, use a virtual public network (VPN). A VPN is a type of networking technology that allows users to create a secure connection in public. VPNs can be used to access remote resources, encrypt traffic, and hide your IP address.
  • Don’t jailbreak or root your devices, which can compromise security features built into the operating system or app.

Take 5 Steps for Better Online Security

It’s important to strengthen your online security to help avoid all types of online scams. Take action to improve your digital posture by following these steps:

  1. Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA): Passwords are generally easy for scammers to crack, and even if you use strong passphrases, there’s still the possibility that a cybercriminal can obtain your passphrase in a data breach. Implementing MFA is a great way to maximize your security and ensure that you are the only one who can gain access to your accounts. MFA should be implemented on all accounts where it is available. Check your account’s security settings to see if it is something you can set up.
  2. Update Your Privacy Settings: Privacy settings allow you to control your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, financial details, photos or videos, etc) and how that information is used. Review your privacy settings on all of your accounts including your social media accounts. Consider restricting who can see your friends list, contacts, photos and posts.
  3. Activate Automatic Updates: Automatic updates are a set of changes to an app, software or operating system that are automatically pushed by the developer to fix or improve it. Oftentimes, cybercriminals take advantage of security flaws to plant malicious software on your devices. By activating automatic updates, you will automatically patch security vulnerabilities to protect your data.
  4. Use a Password Manager or Create Strong Passphrases: A password manager is a software tool that securely stores all of your login credentials in one place, allowing you to create and manage strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. If you are unable to afford a password manager, use strong passphrases. A passphrase is a combination of random words or a sentence that is much longer and more complex than a typical password. Using a passphrase instead of a password makes it much harder for hackers to guess or brute-force their way into your accounts.
  5. Learn the Elements of a Phishing Attempt: Familiarize yourself with the elements of a phishing email. Phishing emails tend to include a sense of urgency and multiple grammar and spelling errors. If they are asking you to reveal personal information, be suspicious. If you get a strange email, try contacting the company another way to confirm they sent that email. If the email is suspicious, mark it as spam.

TestimonialHear from Other Victims

Without Fightcybercrime.org, I don't know if I would have been able to react as quickly to protect my personal information.
Mary - Indianapolis, IN