Cyber fraud is on the rise, largely due to compromised email accounts being used to initiate wire fraud and other financial crimes. The following security tips can help you identify a compromised email account and prevent further exploitation.
Protect Your Email Account
- Change your password often. Make it complex and avoid using personal information.
- Enable two-factor authentication for account access. A quick Internet search will show how to set this up for most major email providers.
- Maintain and routinely update an anti-virus/malware program.
- Scrutinize email content and avoid anything that looks suspicious.
- Before you click, hover your cursor over the sender's email address along with any URLs in the message to be sure they are legitimate.
- If you suspect the 'From' address is fraudulent, you can check it with a header analyzer such as this one from Google: https://toolbox.googleapps.com/apps/messageheader/
- Review your account activity records for suspicious logins.
- Periodically check your Sent folder to be sure emails aren't being sent or forwarded without your knowledge.
- Periodically check your email configuration to ensure automatic forwarding has not been enabled without your knowledge. A quick Internet search will show how to configure forwarding for most major email providers.
Indicators That An Email Account Has Been Compromised
- You are unable to log in, indicating password has been changed.
- Activity records show suspicious login times or unknown locations.
- Account configuration is set to forward emails to an unknown address.
- Friends and/or colleagues are receiving "spam" messages from your account.
- You receive replies to emails you did not send.
Tips To Recover A Compromised Email Account
- Change your password immediately.
- If possible, make the account disconnect or sign out of other web sessions.
- Check the message forwarding settings to ensure hackers are not being forwarded the incoming emails.