Have you ever had that awkward moment when you receive a text or call from a friend:
“uh… i just got an email from you trying to sell me viagra.” Not cool, ever. I hope this never happens to you, but lets be honest, it happens all the time. So, what should you do if this does occur to you?
1. Change your password now. If the person that hacked into your email hasn’t changed your password (hooray!) Login and change it now and be sure to make it extra strong this time. Here are 10 tips for choosing a strong password.
2. Recapture your account. If the person has changed your password, you are going to have to recover your account by taking a few extra security steps. This usually involves answering a few questions that you answered when you created your account. Gmail even has a feature that will text a message to your phone number on file to verify your account. If you can’t remember your answers, you can try to contact the support staff of your provider to help with recovery.
3. Report the incident to your email provider. It is important to report the issue because it could be a problem that is happening to lots of users, not just you. If you report it, it gives the provider a chance to look into the issue and block any security holes or problems.
4. Contact your friends and email contacts. Most people will realize that you aren’t trying to sell them viagra and that you have probably been hacked, but just to be safe, call/text/email your friends and tell them that you have been hacked and to not open or reply to any emails from you and to especially not open any attachments.
5. Double check / update your email settings. If you have recovered your account, be sure to go through all of your settings and update them as needed.
6. Change passwords for other websites. In the event you shared your email passwords or security questions with any other site, change them, too. This will save you a lot of issues in the future.
7. Monitor all of your accounts for fraudulent activity. Be sure to monitor your banking, emails, credit cards, and other websites for any fraudulent activity. You can even check your credit report to be sure nothing really bad has happened, like identity theft, which is just plain scary and a pain in the ass. If you live in the United States, you are entitled to 3 free credit reports a year, so don’t fall for the scheme of paying for them. Just go to Annual Credit Report to easily obtain yours. You can also monitor your credit report for free with Credit Karma. The website breaks your credit report down into layman’s terms. It’s 100% free and they even send you notifications when anything on your credit report changes.
Has your email ever been compromised? What did you do to resolve the issue? What do you do to safeguard yourself from this happening to you?