It’s unfortunate but many people don’t know what to do with a hacked email account. People sometimes only become aware that their email has been hacked after a friend or family member reports them sending out odd emails. However by the time someone contacts you, this problem might amount to hundreds or thousands of emails scam emails sent under your name.
These email hackers have several fraudulent ways of making money. One of the most popular methods was mentioned above: getting unauthorized access to your email and then spamming all your contacts with unsolicited advertisements. Another tactic is by making up a fake sob story to your friends and family. For example, maybe you’re vacationing overseas but can’t access your bank account and are stuck somewhere. Or maybe you’re going through financial hardships due to medical bills. Regardless of the story provided, the goal is the same; to get money out of those that care about you. These emails are referred to as “phishing emails”. Regardless if it’s money or simply information these scammers know how to profit from your mistakes.
Your friends and family might be so concerned that they look past how suspicious those emails sound. It may only be after having sent the money and calling to confirm that you got it to do it’ become clear that they’ve fallen victim to this type of fraud. However, as a Rush Tech Support customer, you have no need to be concerned. We are always in your corner to make sure you have a contingency plan if you fall victim to these mistakes.
Follow these steps of what to do with a hacked email account:
1. Change Your Password ASAP
First, try logging into your email through the webmail site. If you are able to sign in successfully, go to the Security section of the page and change your password immediately! A strong password needs to be put into place yesterday. In a previous blog post, we discussed 5 Ways to Secure Your Password. If you don’t have access to the account immediately, you will then have to use the ‘Forgot Password’ feature to create one. Hopefully, you are able to provide the correct security questions or other information that the site is requesting to verify your identity. Afterward, it’s important to make sure you set up a strong password. A strong password includes letters, numbers, and special characters. Also enabling 2FA (2-Form Authentication) can also be a valuable way to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Consider changing your password on other sites as well if it’s the same as the one which has been recently exploited. Just because the password was tied to a hacked email doesn’t mean the information can’t be used elsewhere
2. Let Your Contacts Know
Try to contact your friends and family members know about this situation through another means of communication. Facebook, text message, phone call or another email address are all good ways to get a hold of them. Let them know that you’re sorry but don’t open emails from that account for a while. If this message is in the form of text, make sure that the wording is severe enough that they actually open the warning message. If one of your friends or family have opened those emails and are concerned they potentially have malware, have them give us a call and we’d be happy to help.
3. Scan for Malware
There is a chance that your hacked email account situation started first with malware. Even if the machine was clean to start, it’s possible for malware to have made its way onto the system during the process. That’s why it’s important to have a malware scan of the computer done after your email has been hacked. As a Rush customer don’t hesitate to call for us to check out the computer when dealing with a hacked email account.
4. Check Out Account Settings
Look at the settings for your email and see if there are any settings changed to something they clearly shouldn’t be. If there is a login history provided this may add insight to where the hack took place. The most important thing is to make sure your email address isn’t being forwarded to another location such as the scammer’s email address. Afterward, clear your cache and cookie files to ensure if any site settings have been changed, those preferences were removed.
5. Notify Your Internet Service Provider
Let your internet service provider know that your email has been hacked. Often times they will be able to shut down your account temporarily. This puts a stop to the spamming of your contacts and they also might be able to find the culprits.
6. Monitor Your Accounts Closely
Your email is often tied to a wealth of other information that scammers can profit from. It’s important for the next few months to pay extra attention to your financial and social media accounts for any odd activity. Depending on how much time and how extensive this hack was they might have the ability to affect other accounts besides the hacked email account.
How Did This Happen?
Unfortunately pinning down the exact way this occurred can be difficult. One common way stems from using public wifi which looks similar to a reputable one. Let’s say you’re at Chili’s. You see both Chili’s Guest Wifi and Chili’s Free Guest Wifi. Both names would make sense to connect to and at a glance you might not even wonder why there are two wifi access points with similar names. Once connected to this fraudulent wifi network hackers can then attempt to grab your login credentials as you enter them.
Conclusion: Are Hotspots Safe?
Generally, hotspots are fine. The rogue wifi access point is rare but not as rare as you would hope. However, we would recommend not doing any sensitive work while connected to a public access point. Also if there’s any doubt on what’s the correct one, ask an employee at the establishment you’re at.
If you concerned with making sure your email is protected, give Rush Tech Support a call at 844-880-7874. We would be happy to help.