What To Do If You’ve Been Hacked
By Tara Rudo, Owner of No More Piles
I am writing a follow up to last week’s “Is Your Facebook and Email Safe from Hackers” post. I received so many emails from people telling me that their account had already been hacked and asking what they should do. Here are the things that I learned last week:
1. Contact your IT department or computer specialist! Hackers could have gained access to your computer and you definitely want to make sure that your computer is protected and any spyware or malware is removed.
2. If you can still access your email, change your password. You should also change any other accounts where you used that same password. Hackers will start going through a list of sites and try your user name and password just to see if they can gain access, especially Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, PayPal, etc.
3. If you can access your email, check the settings in the account and make sure that the hackers didn’t set up your email account to forward all incoming email to a hacker controlled email account.
4. If you can’t access your email, contact your email service provider either by phone or through their automated forms on their website to report that your account has been hacked and that you no longer have access to the account. Your email provider can shut the account down to ensure that the hackers can no longer send any spam.
5. Talk to someone that has received the hacker spam from your account (or have them forward the email to you) and have them double click on the ‘from’ section of the email to see what email address was used to send the mail. It may say your name, but when you double click the name you may find that the hackers have set up a ‘new’ email account in your name that they are using to send the spam. If they have, you will also need to contact that email service provider and report that email address as well.
This is a terribly frustrating situation to find yourself involved in. Try to be patient and thorough and make sure that you shut down the hackers as quickly and completely as possible. Then, do your best to set up your new accounts and your computer with as many safe guards as you can. As technology continues to improve and make our lives faster and easier, there will always be some bad guys (or gals) out there figuring out a way to mess with us. This is just an unfortunate fact of life in the technology age. Good luck!