Someone’s Sending from My Email Address! How Do I Stop Them?!

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People are telling me I’ve sent them email I know I haven’t. Supposedly it’s spam, and that’s not something I do. Has my account been hacked? How do I stop it?

While possible, it’s highly unlikely your account has been hacked. Whatever is happening is something significantly more benign. Sadly, it’s something you can do almost nothing about.

There are a couple of variations, so before we begin, let me also mention some articles that might more closely match your situation.

Read moreSomeone’s Sending from My Email Address! How Do I Stop Them?!

My Flood of Auto-Responses

Last week I made an innocuous change to The Ask Leo! Newsletter, and as a result I received a flood of auto-responses delivered to my inbox.

While annoying, it was actually fairly interesting to see no less than three unexpected patterns arise.

It’s important to realize that the various types of auto-responses may not do what you think. In fact, they may be doing something else entirely.

And don’t get me started on those challenge-response spam blockers. (OK, too late…)

Read moreMy Flood of Auto-Responses

Why Do I Need Another Email Address to Access My Account?

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I can’t login to my account as it keeps saying it wants another email to use as recovery. I do not have one. Do I have to get another account from somewhere in order to use Hotmail now? If so, I’ll start using the new one and get rid of Hotmail. What an inconvenience in that I have no access to my own account!

No, this isn’t some conspiracy to get you to create yet another email address. Heck, the email address technically doesn’t even have to be yours; but it does have to be setup before you need it.

Read moreWhy Do I Need Another Email Address to Access My Account?

I got two identical spam messages from two friends. Which of us has been hacked?

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Leo, I’ve received two emails from two different friends, both of which have the same link in them. Hotmail threw both of them into junk mail area so I was suspicious and didn’t click on the link and deleted them. But I was wondering, have they been hacked? Or have I? Should I warn them or start looking into my own vulnerability?

Without looking at the actual message source (meaning the headers that you don’t normally look at) it’s nearly impossible to say. It could be you, but ultimately, I don’t think it’s likely. It could be them. Or, believe it or not, it could be nothing at all.

Read moreI got two identical spam messages from two friends. Which of us has been hacked?

How do I prevent Hotmail from locking me out when I travel overseas?

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Each time I travel overseas, my Hotmail account locks me out because it becomes suspicious of my new location and that someone is someone is trying to hack into it. How do I fix it so that Hotmail will never again lock me out when I’m in a different location than usual?

First, I don’t think that you can change that feature in Hotmail. I honestly don’t know of a way to stop it from locking you out when you travel overseas.

But to be honest, my take is very different. I don’t think you want it to stop.

Read moreHow do I prevent Hotmail from locking me out when I travel overseas?

Why is mail getting automatically placed in a folder I didn’t create?

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I’m using Microsoft Office 2010 on Windows 7. A couple of weeks ago, all of my incoming mails started going into a folder called “Loyalty Pays.” At first, I didn’t realize what was happening. All that I knew was that I was not getting my emails. They are still going into this folder. Has someone hacked into my system? Do they have access to my emails? What can I do to rectify this problem?

Yes, my guess is that it’s very likely that someone hacked or compromised your account or that malware ended up on your machine.

Fixing this problem depends on how the email account is configured.

Read moreWhy is mail getting automatically placed in a folder I didn’t create?

If My Email Account is Hacked, What Kinds of Things Should I Check?

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Leo, in your article about email being hacked and what you need to do, it’s possible that you may have omitted one important problem associated with account hacking: the changed return address. When my Yahoo account was hacked (my own fault, signing in from a fake email), the last thing that I noticed as I restored my account was that they had changed one letter of my name in the return address. If you clicked Reply to any email that I sent out, it went to them and not to my real account address.

Actually, you raise a very interesting and important point. It’s difficult to list all of the things that a hacker could change after they access your account.

Let’s look at a few of the most common things.

Read moreIf My Email Account is Hacked, What Kinds of Things Should I Check?

Can Backups of Email Be Hacked?

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Hi, Leo. I’m an engineer in the UK. I’m interested in email security and I’ve read your stuff on email interception. I want to discuss an aspect of this (the backup of email servers) and get your view. Most articles that I come across suggest that intercepting email in transit or in flight over the wire as opposed to radio is hard to do for a hacker. It’s the end points that the hacker is most likely to attack, but my worry is that even in transit, an email is likely to pass through an intermediate email server and those servers are likely to be backed up with a backup possibly being stored off the network. Once this backup has been made, the security of the information content can then be a time independent risk. Such a backup could be read or copied who knows when in the future by who knows who. How much of a threat would you consider these backups to be?

You raise a very good point and it applies to more than just email. This is a very often-overlooked aspect of both email and more general cloud security.

Read moreCan Backups of Email Be Hacked?

Did Someone Log In to Google with My Password?

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I just got this message in my Google email, “Someone recently tried to use an application to sign into your Google account.” The suspicious sign-in was in China, so apparently Google thought it might not be me and blocked it. What I want to know is did this suspicious sign-in actually use my correct password? Or did they just try to sign-in with random passwords hoping to stumble across the correct one?

I want to start by saying that I haven’t encountered this myself. Maybe I’m lucky.

Nonetheless, this is a very cool feature on Google’s part. Watching out for account theft like that is a very interesting and positive thing and I applaud Google for taking the initiative to understand what may and may not be a legitimate login for an account.

That said, what really happened here?

Read moreDid Someone Log In to Google with My Password?

How Do I Tell If My Email has Been Hacked?

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I’m the moderator of a fairly large moderated email list. Recently, we’ve been getting a large number of phishing messages from people who don’t know that their email has been hacked. I’d like to post a special message to the group telling everyone to check their email accounts, but how do they do that? In other words, if no one has specifically told them their address book has been compromised, they aren’t going to realize that this is their problem and they’re going to do nothing about it. Is there a way to tell? I’m getting very tired of informing them one by one and always including the link to your page on what to do if their email has been hacked.

Knowing that your email has been hacked can be very difficult to detect, particularly if you are not moderately tech savvy.

Hackers often go through extra steps to leave as few traces as possible. Sometimes, they may leave some, but it’s not that common. In fact, it’s very difficult, sometimes almost impossible to tell.

Let’s look at a couple of things that could help.

Read moreHow Do I Tell If My Email has Been Hacked?

How Do I Find Who Hacked My Email?

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I just want to tell you that someone has hacked one of my email IDs and he sent email from my ID to someone else. Now, please tell me how I can find out from which computer and from which place this email has been sent. In other words, how do I find who hacked my email? You cooperation will be highly appreciated.

Unfortunately, what you and I can do is actually very limited.

I get this question a lot. When people get their accounts hacked, they really want to be able to trace back and figure out who the heck did this to them. Where did it happen? What computer were they on?

You’re not going to like this, but the  short answer is, you don’t. The fact is, unless this involves laws being broken, there’s almost nothing you as an individual can do.

Read moreHow Do I Find Who Hacked My Email?

Hotmail says my password is incorrect, but I know it’s right. What do I do?

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HI, MY PASSWORD HAS BEEN THE SAME FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS AND SUDDENLY I GET A MESSAGE THAT SAYS PASSWORD INCORRECT,WHAT THE HELL? AFTER A FEW ATTEMPTS IT BLOCKED ALL ATTEMPTS AND THE QUESTION IT ASKS IS NOT WHAT I FILLED IN WHEN I SIGHNED UP.IT ASKS ME FOR MY FIRST DOGS NAME AND I KNOW THAT I DID NOT FILL THAT IN, I DO KNOW WHAT SECRET QUESTION I AM SUPPOSED TO BE ASKED. WHAT DO I DO OR DO I JUST GO TO G MAIL AS MOST OF MY FRIENDS DID WHEN HOTMAIL STARTED WITH THEIR NONSENSE?!?!?

I get this often enough that I want to use this question as an example and provide a summary article for the situation.

This has nothing to do with Hotmail’s “nonsense” at all.

It’s pretty clear what’s happened here, so I’ll point you to a number of my previous articles that all might apply in your situation.

Read moreHotmail says my password is incorrect, but I know it’s right. What do I do?

Someone’s Sending Email that Looks Like it’s from Me to My Contacts, What Can I Do?

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Hi,somebody is sending emails to my contacts using my email address to which I haven’t sent. How can this be? Have I been hacked into? I do have full internet security avg 9, could you please let me know what action to take if any as I find this quite worrying! I have changed my password so far, but that is all.

You should be worried.

I’m not sure that I’d say you’ve been “hacked into”, but my guess is that your email account has indeed been compromised.

I’ll look at what likely happened, why this isn’t like other “Someone’s sending from my email address!” kind of issues, and what steps you need to take next.

Read moreSomeone’s Sending Email that Looks Like it’s from Me to My Contacts, What Can I Do?

Would You Please Recover My Password? My Account Has Been Hacked or I’ve Forgotten It

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  • Someone has hacked my email address and has changed my password, my personal information and my secret question. I can’t log into my own email account! Please help me recover my password. The id that has been hacked is *****. Please rescue me.
  • I am not able to log into my Yahoo account that I’ve been using for the past 10 years. I clicked on the “forgot password” link and filled in all the details. It’s asking me for answer to my secret question – “who’s my friend?” How would I remember who would it be 10 years ago? Please reply and save a soul. I have very important information in my mails.
  • I’ve forgotten my password and the answer to my secret question. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can you send my password to *****@*****.com?

No.

There is nothing I can do. I have no way to help you.

Here is what you can do…

Read moreWould You Please Recover My Password? My Account Has Been Hacked or I’ve Forgotten It

Someone has stolen my email account. What can I do to get it back?

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Someone has stolen my email account. What can I do to get it back?

I’ve actually received a couple of reports like this in recent days. The scenario is this: one day you find that you cannot log into your email account. Then, to make matters worse, you find that someone else has been sending email pretending to be you to people you know.

Sometimes damaging email.

Remedies are few, but you do need to act quickly.

Read moreSomeone has stolen my email account. What can I do to get it back?