Anti-Hack Tips to Protect Your Email Account From Scammers

Author
Vladislav Podolyako
Published
Oct 18, 2022
Reading duration
9m

For the longest while, constant access to the Internet has been both a blessing and a curse, and so it will remain. The present-day generation features an incredible bond with their email accounts, and the reasons for that are many. That is why cybercriminals don’t seem reluctant to use the opportunity to hack your mailbox and use your personal information for further fraud.

While individual email accounts hold such critical information as access to all the services and passwords, the data that enterprise-level account carry is much more lucrative. Thus, you must be willing and ready to protect your email from hackers. Luckily, numerous data breaches can be prevented using a fair share of effective tips and tricks 💪. Are you willing to determine what protects your business from hackers regarding a corporate or individual mailbox? Keep reading!

How do I know if my email has been hacked?

Before you learn how to prevent your email from being hacked, you must be aware of the primary signs that your email account has been hacked. There are a few clear signs to watch out for. They are the following:

  • You can’t log in – whenever you are faced with the problem of effortlessly signing in to your email account, the alarm should go off in your head. Usually, in such cases, a text message appears stating that either your username or password is incorrect. The chances are that those who have hacked your email have already switched login credentials.
  • The sent-email folder looks strange – if you can log in to your online account, but it feels like something is off, you should inspect the sent folder. If your email has been hacked, you will see a variety of spammy-looking emails you have never sent. In other cases, the sent-email folder will be empty, although you haven’t deleted your sent messages.
  • Your friends and family members complain – very often, your close ones may notice the scamming activity and notify you that they have been receiving strange and spammy-looking messages from you.
  • Your social media feed looks odd – the moment you notice posts advertising some services or products under your name, although you have never used those – the chances are that a hacker has gained access to your account. In the majority of cases, your email account opens up all the doors to your other service accounts.
  • Fishy-looking IP address logs – if you want to take your investigation a little further, you should check your IP address log 🔎. In case the email has been infiltrated by scammers, you will notice IP address logs different from the most used ones, which are usually your home and work IPs.

How to protect your email from hackers?

After covering the question “How do you know if your email account has been hacked?”, it’s essential to cover the means of ruling the unfavorable outcome out. Your email security is of utmost importance since hackers can use your email as the primary gateway to acquiring your personal information, further exploited with fraudulent intentions. Thus, it would help if you used all the means available to protect your inbox from hackers. There are a few critical pieces of advice that you can implement in the process and keep your inbox hack-free.

Work on a secure email account password

📌 One of the main reasons your account got hacked is that you use the same password for every account you own. While it may seem easier to stick with the same password to ensure that you can always log into your favorite sites and services, hackers know the drill and often use it against you.

You must create a unique password for every account.

Keep in mind that a strong password contains more than just lowercase letters. Uppercase letters and digits are what you should consider too. It is a wise approach to alter your passwords frequently, but constantly changing passwords may lead to locking yourself out of some service since you can’t remember the word. In cases like that, a dedicated password manager usually saves the day. All it takes is to password-protect the manager, and it will securely hold your sensitive information protected.

Two-factor authentication

Another way to protect your email from being hacked is to consider two-factor authentication. Together with a reliable password, the step will ensure improved data safety. The authentication works so that once you sign up for it, you will get a notification every time someone else tries to access your email. It is a valuable extra layer of security that you can rely on 🙌, but unfortunately, not every email provider supports the function yet.

Install antivirus software

Another practical step to rule out that your email has been hacked is to install reliable security software on your computer. There is a reason why most hackers bow down before an antivirus. An active antivirus program will always notify you when there is a threat to your email security. Even free software is better than leaving your online accounts unprotected. A word of advice – always use a deep scan instead of a quick one. The truth is that hackers come up with new malware regularly, and a quick scan may simply miss the threat that can cost you your social security number information or more.

Detect suspicious messages as phishing emails

If you don’t want to be dealing with a hacked email account, you should be able to tell phishing emails from legit ones. Yet, the task is more challenging than it sounds ⚡️ since even trained professionals may become bait to skillful phishers. In numerous cases, a phishing message looks like a professional email, but the link or the email attachments it contains are where the primary threat comes from.

So, how do you detect a suspicious email? There are a few things you can do to rule out or at least decrease suspicious activity within your inbox:

  • A trusted email service, let’s say Gmail or Outlook, would place a red or yellow flag on top of the email, indicating that it is potential fraud or spam.
  • The return email address can tell a lot about the sender. When someone is trying to impersonate a trusted source, they will put some effort into resembling the company’s domain name – think @netfl1x instead of @netflix – so you should be attentive to detail above all.
  • Most scam emails contain offers that are difficult to resist. A 100% discount on your favorite products or a lottery winner out of the sudden? It does smell fishy.
  • Some scammers claim to be affiliates of popular companies and make phishing attacks twice as effective. That is why it is always a good idea to reach out to the indicated company and inquire whether they cooperate with the potential impersonator.

Reduce public Wi-Fi or computer access 

To put it simply – keep away from public computers 🖥 and wi-fi when trying to access such a personal online account as your email. The chances are that no security questions or unique passwords will save you from leaving a valuable trace of information that can be used against you later.

Ensure a protected home network

Another simple but effective tip that will save you all the trouble of dealing with a hacked email would be to monitor who gains access to your home or business network. Just as handy and popular wi-fi networks are, so dangerous they can be, especially when it comes to data breaches. That is why industry experts suggest that you protect your networks with a reliable password and change it every two or three months, just to stay on the safe side. Besides, an occasional email hack-check is never a waste.

Use the VPN connection

You won’t have to deal with a hacked email account if you use a VPN regularly.

That’s a proven fact. For some reason, people think a VPN connection is handy for a restricted online service or source only. While in truth, the constant use of the software ensures that your network connection is encrypted and no one can hack it to make use of your personal information. No email password can catch up with that level of security. Especially if you stick with high-end VPN software.

Keep your software updated

Whether your computer or mobile device, it contains all the critical data a modern-day hacker preys for. 🛠 Thus, installing the latest version of the operating system in use is a must if you want to protect the device and your email account. Current operating systems come spiced with a plethora of security measures aimed at cyber threat prevention, so you shouldn’t neglect the opportunity.

Regain control over your devices

If you don’t want your email account hacked, you should pay attention to how cluttered your PC and other devices are.

What does it mean? All your online services and apps leave a trace on your device. Some applications are designed to gain access to your location or storage. Confirming the permissions you haven’t intended to give leaves the backdoor open for the hacker to stroll in.

There are two routes to take in this case. The first option is to monitor all the permission that you give. Another way would be to get rid of all the apps that seem suspicious or are out of use now. Don’t forget to do the same with the browser extensions, too.

Go for a credit freeze

Sometimes the inevitable happens. If you find out that your email has been hacked and you worry about your credit card information, you can use the credit freeze on your existing account. Turning the account back on in time of need does not take long. 🕰

Final words

Email accounts get hacked regularly, but you shouldn’t just accept the fact. You can secure your email account by learning how to recognize a potential email hack and prevent it from happening. It does not take long to develop a secure password, ensure multi-factor authentication or keep your devices and software updated to eliminate the slightest chance of a damaging data breach, does it?

FAQ

Can I check if my email has been hacked?

There are many ways to detect hacked accounts. In the majority of cases, an email provider will notify you about potentially spamming activity within the mailbox. If you receive strange inquiries from friends and colleagues about your emailing activity, this should also be a sign to check the account.

How do hackers take over your email?

Numerous activities can result in hacked emails. However, phishing attacks are among the most common practices. So, you shouldn’t follow a link you don’t trust, open an email you don’t know whom from, and download suspicious attachments.

What happens if a scammer has your email?

Scammers who have access to your email account will have equal access to the services and passwords you use, not to mention correspondence and financial records.

Should I delete my email if it was hacked?

The best thing to do when you learn that your email has been hacked is to update the login information. This concerns the email account and all the other accounts connected to it. You should delete the account only in the worst-case scenario.

What if someone is using my email?

Anyone else who has access to your email can access your data and lock you out of your account. Two-step verification can help you prevent unfavorable outcomes.

Can someone hack my bank account with my email address?

Yes, if your bank account is connected to the hacked email address. By accessing your email, a hacker acquires personal information necessary to deduct funds or charge the card without your confirmation.

Vladislav Podolyako
Author:
Vladislav Podolyako
Founder & CEO
Vlad’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed him to successfully mentor a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs in growing their companies. A recognized expert in the areas of transforming organizational culture and leadership development, B2B Sales, Marketing, spent more than 10 years building technology products, with a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.

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