"Those emails aren't from me!"

How to recover when your email has been hacked or hijacked

Are your family and friends receiving emails from you that you didn’t actually send? Or are you unable to log into your own email account? Chances are your email’s been hacked. Before you panic, there are a few things you should do right away to remedy this situation:

  • Start by updating or installing security software from a trusted company and turn on automatic updates
  • Scan your computer with your security software right away (often hackers hijack accounts by infecting computers with malware)
  • Find out if you're able to log into your email:
    • Yes: Change your password to something memorable for you but hard for others to guess – the FTC has tips for creating strong passwords
    • No: Contact your email provider to find out how to gain access, then check the email settings to ensure emails aren’t being forwarded to anyone else
  • As a courtesy, let your family and friends know your email was hacked

And make sure you don’t store sensitive information in your email, like account passwords, PIN numbers or Social Security numbers. If you receive temporary passwords or authentication codes in your email and it’s been hacked, make sure to update your login information with those companies as well.

Bonus security tip!
Transferring money to someone? Make sure you confirm exactly who you’re sending funds to with an actual, trusted contact before making the transfer.


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