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What to Do if Your Google Gmail Has Been Hacked

Updated on June 19, 2013

What is Email Hacking?

Email "hacking" is when someone enters your email account WITHOUT your permission and/or knowledge. Email hacking can be frustrating, embarrassing and make you feel very unsafe. Fortunately you may or MAY NOT have been "hacked". In this article I will show you everything you need to know in regard to determining if your email has been compromised in addition to how to solved the issue.


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Has Your Email Been Hacked?

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Why Do People Hack Email Accounts?

There's no one specific reason as to why your account may have been hacked. But reasons can include:

1. Someone wishing to illegally spam your contacts

2. Someone wishing to gain access to data; including, but not limited to: financial records, passwords or even blackmail

3. A boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse suspecting infidelity (cheating) - YES! It is ILLEGAL for them to enter your email unless you have given them the right to do so, even IF you ARE married!

4. An angry ex-friend, coworker, etc who wants to harass, change your passwords or "mess with" you.

How to Tell if You Have Been HACKED

You may NOT have been "hacked"; but the very first clue will be an inbox filled with "rebound emails":

What My Inbox Looked Like:

Clue #2: Legitimate Emails From Friends / Family

Your "real" friends and family will likely find the emails you *sent* them to be odd. A good friend / family member will take the time to notify you, or even question you. In my case, I got email replies to the spam "I" sent from friends and my businesses suppliers (-yeah, major embarrassment!):

One of My "Hack" Emails from a Supplier:

Like I said - embarrassing!!!!!! I felt absolutely terrible that all my friends, family, even my own employees were sent these stupid emails! THANKFULLY, they took the time to contact me about it which was a big tip-off that SOMETHING happened that morning - I wasn't sure what yet being that I had never had any issues...ever!

But as I began looking into this I found that email Hijacking / Hacking is one of the top Internet Crimes (see chart below for 2012)

PIE CHART OF INTERNET CRIME POPULARITY

NEXT STEP: Check Your HISTORY

You can get access to your last 5 to 15-or-so logins in your Last account activity link at the bottom of your inbox. KEEP IN MIND: you time is limited to access this info, so act immediately. DO NOT log out.

If you received a warning about suspicious activity in your account, you might also see up to 3 IP addresses that have been labeled as suspicious as well as the 10 normal IP addresses.

For example, my HACK showed me that someone from Chile had accessed my YAHOO account through Yahoo Mobile:

My International Email Hack Records:

Since I have never been out of the country (with the exception of Canada, being that I live in Michigan; I clearly have not logged in from Chile - let alone an hour prior). This was total proof my email had been "hacked"; but how?

My first intuition was to check my cell phone Security / Settings section and look at all the data. I found three things that were out of the norm. For the life of me, I can't recall what the things were, but I googled each of them and nobody else online seemed to know what they were either - yet there were numerous online questions of what these items were. I immediately deleted them.

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CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD RIGHT AWAY

The next thing you want to do is immediately change your password. Make sure you change ALL of your passwords; Facebook, LinkedIn and any other accounts you access. DO NOT use all the same passwords. For example, pick one password for your email and a different password for social networking. If you are using banking accounts online or through your phone, pick a third password.

One option for password selection that is easy to remember is to pick your favorite fruit or animal (do no pick "cat" or "dog"), but lets say your favorite fruit is an apple; for social networking accounts make your password something like "APPLE", then add in some numbers, such as the last 4 numbers of your phone number, such as "A3PP4L6E4" - good luck to a hacker trying to guess that. For your second set of passwords, just change the phone number to the last 4 of your social security number and for the 3rd set use your birth year or a childs birth year. Using an odd combo of letters and numbers greatly helps.

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What Email Do Feel is THE MOST SAFE?

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HAVE You *REALLY* Been Hacked?

There are numerous FREE services that allow you to send emails pretending to be someone you are not. Deadfake.com is one of the many terrible participants in this scam.

Just because your friends / family get an email from "you" doesn't mean your account was "hacked".

SIGNS OF A REAL HACK:

As mentioned earlier, lots of "rebound messages" in your inbox

Tons of Outbox/SENT Messages (a hacker isn't going to take time to delete them)

Completely missing information; deleted "folders" / "files" and/or emails you deemed "important"

IF you notice that none of this has occurred you likely are a victim of someone using an email spoof to send emails as "you" yet never entering your actual email.

If You HAVE Been Hacked: REPORT IT

Read my article on how to report ALL Cyber Crimes, internet harassment and more:

READ PART 2: HOW TO DEAL WITH EMAIL SPAM SENT OUT

Next please read WHAT TO DO AFTER YOUR EMAIL HAS BEEN HACK AND SPAM SENT. This article will explain practical ways to help you get over the embarrassment of your current situation.

What to Do About Email Hack Video Tutorial

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    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 4 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      Well Done! This is a well-written article and it really raises awareness. Thanks for writing such a well-informative article.

    • profile image

      fauzy ahmad 16 months ago

      activate 2 step gmail verification http://daftarcaramembuat.com

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