What to do if Your Email Accounts Was Hacked

email account was hacked

Was your email account hacked? Do you want to know if your email account was hacked and what to do if it was? We’ll help you figure out if your email account was hacked and provide you with solutions to get your email account back and keep your online accounts secure.

This day in age, data breaches and data retention plays an active role in our online environment. Data breaches are becoming a common way for mass data to be leaked online. Data such as email addresses, passwords, phone numbers, physical addresses, full names, and more is leaked across the dark web and sold to interested bidders with bad intentions

Following many data breaches of the past, email account information is leaked online and used in various ways. A party with nothing good in mind may use the leaked information to access email accounts for unknown purposes. Scammers may also use the leaked data in various sextortion email scams designed to extort money by claiming to have hacked the target’s computer. We’ll talk more about this later…

Before we begin, let’s address the different people here seeking information:

  • You have confirmation that your email account was hacked.
  • You want to know if your email account was hacked.
  • You want to know how to get your email account back.
  • You want to know how to access your email account.
  • Something else…

In any case, there are usually two scenarios that would make a person believe their email account was hacked:

1. A Message Says Your Email Account Was Hacked

Did you receive an email message that says your email account was hacked? The email message may even have been sent to you from your own account and contain your past or current password in it. If this is the case, you’re in a good situation but still at risk. These type of email messages are typical sextortion email scams and you have nothing to worry about. You can still access your account; However, your information was still leaked online and you need to take steps to secure your email account.

message says your email was hacked

The email message may even contain your password and appear to be sent to you from your own email account. This is just an attempt to trick you by utilizing social-engineering tactics. In almost every case, your email account was not accessed or used. Instead, a third-party email spoofing service was used to make it look like a message was sent to you from your own email account.

To check if you have an email account that was compromised in a data breach visit: https://haveibeenpwned.com/

2. You Cannot Access Your Email Account

There are numerous reasons why you may not be able to access your email account but if you are under the impression that your email account was hacked contact your email service provider for more information about securing your email account. The quicker you act, the better chance you have to recover your account without any issues.

cant access email

Additionally, we have listed various links for popular email account services below including Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook to help you get your email account back if you cannot access your email account due to a hacker or another issue:

Google/Gmail:

Use the Google Account Help Troubleshooter if you can’t sign into your Google Account. Google troubleshooter will help you if:

  • You forgot your password.
  • You forgot your username or the email address you use to sign in.
  • You know your username and password, but you can’t sign in.
  • You think someone else is using your account.
  • You’re having trouble with 2-Step Verification.
  • You can’t reset your password with a code by text.
  • You use a Google Account through your work, school, or another group.
  • You can’t sign in to a Google Account for a kid under 13.
  • You can’t sign in from a third-party service.

For more information visit: https://support.google.com/accounts/troubleshooter/2402620

Yahoo:

Use Yahoo help to fix problems signing into Yahoo. This can help you if:

  • You forgot your password or Yahoo ID.
  • You get an “Invalid ID or Password” error.
  • Or other sign-in issues.
  • You get a “First time signing in here?” message.
  • You get an “Account Locked” message.
  • Your sign-in screen loops or reloads.

For more information visit: https://help.yahoo.com/kb/SLN2051.html

Microsoft/Outlook/Hotmail:

Use Microsoft account support if you’re having trouble signing into your Microsoft account. This can help you if:

  • You can’t remember your password and need to reset it.
  • You can’t get a verification code.
  • You changed your security info and have a 30-day waiting period.
  • Your password isn’t accepted and you recently turned on two-step verification.
  • Your profile is temporarily blocked.
  • You’re traveling or using a new device.
  • You’re trying to sign in to your PC with a local account (not a Microsoft account).
  • You forgot the email address, phone number, or account name you use for your Microsoft account.
  • You used a PIN instead of a password to sign in to your PC.
  • You can’t sign in to your email.
  • You have a new device and you need to create an account.

For more information visit: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12429/microsoft-account-sign-in-cant

Secure Your Email Account

A secure email account can keep your data private and put your mind at ease. Follow these best practices to properly secure your account(s):

  • Create a unique password for every account. Avoid reusing the same password for more than one online account. Reusing the same password puts all of your online accounts at risk, especially when one of your accounts becomes compromised. Compromised accounts are not uncommon, data breaches often leak passwords and those passwords are usually added to massive lists of other passwords and this information can spread around the dark web.
  • Use a password manager if you have trouble remembering multiple passwords such as 1Password, LastPass, or Roboform. Reputable password managers are safe and easy to use. They encrypt your passwords and store them remotely so they can be accessed across multiple devices.
  • Use letters, numbers, and special characters such as !@#$&. Make your passwords hard for people to guess and hackers to hack.
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) such as two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available to add an extra layer of security.
  • Use a secure email service that provides end-to-end encryption such as Tutanota, ProtonMail, or Mailfence.
  • Use the best Antivirus software for your device. There are many Antivirus programs to choose from. However, the best Antivirus software for your device depends on how active their community is. If you use Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10, Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender Antivirus program is a great choice as a primary Antivirus program (and it’s free), especially when combined with ultra-active Antimalware software that will detect and remove malware most Antivirus miss like Malwarebytes.

Sean Doyle

Sean Doyle is an experienced tech author with experience in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, and more. He has written for numerous online publications.