How To Know Your Email Has Been Hacked – Beware of the most common email scams this year! Since January, I’ve been alerted three times, and I want to share the story – both to help you avoid falling for the scam and so you can notify any friends or people you know whose email accounts have been hacked.
First, let me beat the drum again: None of these people would have had a problem if their email passwords were strong and unique. If you’ve reused your email password everywhere, or if it’s short and simple, stop reading now and go change it.
How To Know Your Email Has Been Hacked
Your new email password can have 13 real characters (like iR82dGlQf3&@C) or at least 28 characters of common words separated by hyphens (like common-fact-battery-horse-basic), or you can create one of them. a combination of numbers (such as dates) and letters (such as initials) will work for you. Whatever you choose, it should be strong and unique. But if you don’t use password management, you’re wasting your time and probably not safe.
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The email scam I received is from someone I know well – John is a runner from a nearby town who has taken part in some of the concerts I organize. Since I assign bib numbers and announce all races, his name is so familiar that I was surprised to receive an email from him – we already wrote a letter once in 2021 about an upcoming track meeting. But with only one initial conversation, I had no idea of his email style, so his first message didn’t raise any bells in my head.
I answered the first message—there were various things a New Yorker could do to contact me—but the bells stopped ringing as soon as he got the next message.
I don’t see why a stranger would ask if I have an Amazon account, except, at this point, who doesn’t? I switched to research mode. What you can’t tell from the message above is that although the sender’s name remains the same, the email address has changed from windstream.net to yahoo.com. Coupled with a strange request about an Amazon account, it’s almost as if I’m talking to a con man who uses an email switch to log me into their account if John prevents them from changing their password. I decided to let the cheater talk and see what I could learn.
After sending this message, I found John’s phone number in the recent register and sent him a message. Fortunately, I was able to provide enough details in my first text that he knew who I was. As I expected, he had no idea what was going on and believed that the Yahoo account was not his.
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While I was curious as to what this scam was going to be, I pretended to be a skeptic and continued with it. After another message or two, it became clear – the scammer wanted me to buy a $300 Amazon gift card that they would later return. Yes of course.
In all of this, I’m sure I’ll only post to the windstream.net account in part to see if the scammer will miss the opportunity. I used to send messages at that time, he said that he did not see any of these messages in his outbox or messages from me in his inbox, which shows that this cheater deletes them immediately to stop fear. I think John changed his password, but if so, that obviously didn’t remove the scammer because I keep getting replies to my messages on windstream.net.
I sincerely hope that Yahoo will be interested in blocking both the scammer’s address and the address they want me to use for Amazon gift cards. But no, my attempt to alert [email protected] failed. I finally tried to contact Yahoo via the supported Web form after I mentioned the issue in “Yahoo-Backed POP Connection causes a formatting error” (January 26, 2022), but that didn’t work either.
At this point, I traded a few messages with the scammer as the conversation progressed, but eventually they let me go. I never heard back after this message.
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I didn’t come close to writing this story right away and quickly forgot about it. And a month later, it happened again! Vern is not someone I’ve exchanged emails with, but he runs a large U-Pick blueberry farm near me, and I left my email address in his guest book the last time I picked up tomatoes at Apho. Fortunately, I wished to meet him—my father used to be a messenger, and he knew many people in town. Dad was able to call him and let him know about the problem, and Vern changed his password and told all his email contacts not to respond to the scam. Ironically, this time, Vern’s real email address is at Yahoo, and the scammer is trying to send the reply back to a fake Outlook account.
Two months later, the scam reappeared in my email, and the scammer targeted an elderly athlete on the site. In this case, I was talking about Tom with another friend I work with every day, so I got my friend to encourage Tom to change his password.
Let’s assume you receive one of the following messages. They are so dangerous that you will know it is a scam right away if it comes from someone you know well. Or, as in my second example, you will know the person so little that the deception will only be apparent because the stranger will not ask such questions. Among the bad things that happen if the message is similar to the first and third example, since I know people well and it is not surprising that I received an email from them but not enough to confirm that the message is not there.
However, if you’re not sure, there’s nothing wrong with answering – don’t make up your mind! If you find that your reply (or the next one) goes to a different address than the original, that’s another sign that you’re in the middle of a leak. Once you understand what’s going on, here’s what I recommend you do… and don’t do:
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To make it easier to reach your stakeholders, here is a sample message you can write or use as a script when speaking to them:
It looks like your email account has been hacked and a scam message has been sent to contacts like me. I would encourage you to change your email password immediately, make the password strong and unique, using a password manager. Also, it would be a good idea to warn your contacts to ignore the scam message and encourage them to make sure their passwords are protected.
Finally, if you have friends who don’t like the Internet, share these stories so they have a better chance of avoiding being scammed or having their accounts compromised.
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Cookies and Privacy: We feel like we’re talking about chocolate-chip cookies here, but our website – just like almost all others – relies on a few digital cookies. Various laws around the world require us to tell you the truth, so let us know if we are not. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of these cookies. Cookies and Privacy Can you check the most effective way if someone sends you an email? Is changing your email password enough? Is it necessary to change the email address (use a new complete email) on any site, such as Amazon, that uses a hacked email as a login user?
ANSWER If you are having trouble reactivating your account, visit your service provider’s site for instructions on how to restore your account. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all have guidelines in place, as do email and internet providers. Tell your friends that your account has been used and ignore any negative messages that appear to be coming from you.
Your account may have been hacked with malicious software, so use a security program to scan your computer for malware and viruses. If you don’t have security software installed, you can use Microsoft Windows Defender or Microsoft Security. Avast and AVG are among the many companies that produce free antivirus software for Windows and Mac. Malwarebytes has a free and trial version of its malware scanning program for Windows and Mac that can work with antivirus software. You should update your computer and device with the latest security updates.
Next, check your email settings to make sure nothing has changed – such as your email being sent to an address you don’t know,
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