Finding out that your email account has been hacked is often more difficult than you might think. Scammers are very careful to leave little traces of their actions, sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell.
But here are five sure signs of suspicious activity …
1. Your password has been changed
One of the most obvious signs of your email being hacked is finding out that you can’t log into your account.
If your email password is rejected as incorrect and you have not changed it, it may indicate that it has been changed by someone else. If a hacker gains access to your account, they are able to change your password to prevent you from signing in and regaining control.
âA fraudster is usually trying to get money or something that he can easily convert to cash,â said John Cannon, director of fraud and identification at Noddle.
âUltimately, controlling an email account allows the scammer to read all the emails that you haven’t deleted and erased from your recycle bin. This is why it is important not to share or store sensitive or personal information on your mail server.
Having a secondary email address or additional verification measures in place helps prevent a hacker from blocking you access to your own account.
Check with your email provider to make sure the email service is working before assuming you’ve been hacked.
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2. Unusual inbox activity
Some hackers won’t change your password, so you won’t notice that something is wrong.
One way to determine if this is the case is to look at your Sent Mail folder and see if there are any messages that you are sure you did not send. If you find any, you know that a spammer probably has access to your account.
Also, watch for password reset emails that you haven’t sent. The hacker may have tried to change your password on other sites, using access to your email to perform password resets.
âYou need to keep track of all the user accounts you manage on the Internet,â said Paul Fletcher, cybersecurity evangelist at Alert Logic.
âIt’s also a recommended good practice to minimize the amount of personally identifiable information you add to the profile of each of your accounts. Users need to know what information is stored on these profiles, for example credit cards, address, date of birth. Record only the required data and track credit cards, which are recorded on online accounts.
The problem is that hackers often take the extra step of going to the sent mail folder and deleting what they sent from there so that they don’t leave any traces.
Eight Warning Signs Your Identity Has Been Stolen
3. You receive unexpected emails
âA fraudster could also use the details they collect on your email account to try to trick you into passing on other sensitive information,â said John Cannon, director of fraud and identification at Noddle.
âHaving access to your email account could reveal who you do your banking with, who your credit card is with, and what your username or account number is. ”
If you receive an email or phone call claiming to be from your bank and stating the correct username / account, it is much more difficult to determine if it is authenticity or fraud.
Our guide to spotting a fraudulent email
4. IP addresses do not match
Some email services have a tool that shows you the last time (or multiple times) you accessed the account and the IP address you used.
In other words, Gmail logs your IP address every time you log into your account. Thus, if a third party accesses your account, their IP address is also recorded. To see a list of saved IP addresses, scroll to the bottom of your Gmail account.
You can click on ‘Details’ to see the IP address of your last five activities. If you find that the IP address listed in the logs does not belong to you, there is a risk of unauthorized activity.
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5. No sign at all
Or maybe you haven’t noticed anything.
Depending on the attacker’s motives, you might never see any warning signs and that’s why it’s always a good idea to stay on top of the news.
Lee Munson, Security Researcher for Comparitech.com, explains: âIf you’ve heard that a website you are using has been hacked, at least consider the worst and run your email address through a website like HaveIBeenPwned .com. Such a service keeps records of millions of compromised email accounts, and if yours is on the list, you’ll be alerted quickly.