How to Recognise a Hacked Email Account

If your normal flood of emails stops abruptly and you know emails you expected have not arrived the maybe someone else has taken over your email account. But, it could easily be that your email provider is having problems and the emails will turn on again.

It’s best to know what the situation is, so do contact your supplier first to check if the problem is at their end.

If your email account has been hacked, then you may see the following signs:-

  • Your mail account is sending spam messages to your contacts
  • Your email provider warns you of suspicious attempts to login to your account
  • Your account details or mail settings have been changed without your knowledge

If you think your account has been hacked – try to change the password. If you can do that, then your email account is probably fine.

Check your Mail settings

Depending on which email service and software you use, the following options may or may not be available to you.

  • mail filters
  • Sending name
  • Email signature
  • Reply-to address
  • Vacation response
  • Default sending address
  • Auto Forwarding of all emails

Hackers may change the settings in your Yahoo Mail account to disrupt your inbox or get copies of your emails. Access your mail settings and make sure none of your info or preferences were changed without your knowledge.

  1. Your password has been changed

Having control over an email account enables the fraudster to read any emails you haven’t deleted and cleared from your email bin. That’s why it’s important you don’t share or store sensitive or personal information on your email server.”

Having a secondary email address or extra verification measures in place helps prevent a hacker from locking you out of your own account.

  1. Unusual inbox activity

Some hackers won’t change your password so you won’t notice that anything’s wrong.

One way to determine if this is the case is to look at your sent mail folder and see if there are messages there that you are confident that you didn’t send. If you find some, then you know a spammer probably has access to your account.

Also watch for password reset emails that you have not instigated. The hacker may have tried to change your password on other sites, using access to your email to perform password resets.

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Flu Epidemic Scam

Scammers love people to have health problems they can jump on and scare people into paying for poor or non existent magic remedies to wipe out that problem.

This common one uses Flu to scare people – particularly parents, with lines such as “It’s sad that many little ones have died this year …” and “Emergency rooms are packed and often with children suffering”.

The remedy proposed isn’t some unheard of substance from the Himalayas or Atlantis but just curcumin which is a component of the spice turmeric.

Curcumin is well known to be anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant and is available in tablet form.

Eating the spice in food does have an effect but you do need to eat an awful lot to get the same effect as from quality supplements.

This scammer also claims that curcumin keeps your immune system strong and hence you wont catch flu.

There is no evidence for this claim so you shouldn’t believe it.

The purpose of the email is not to make you believe in any supplements but to get you to hand over your personal details supposedly in return for a free bottle of curcumin tablets.

There are no free bottles – just go into your nearest pharmacy or supermarket if you buy to buy some – never ever believe emails offering such things.

Like as not they have no product and if they did, I certainly wouldn’t risk taking unknown tablets.

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VirusTotal URL Checker

There are numerous services that keep track of websites loaded with malware.

VirusTotal site at www.virustotal.com/gui/home will check URLs (i.e. Internet addresses) for you.

Option 1 is to upload a file and have it checked for malware

Option 2 is to type in a URL to be checked.

Then VirusTotal checks against more than 70 blacklists created by the anti-malware companies.

Virus Total Community

The VirusTotal Community is a network of interested parties that allows them to comment on files and URLs and share notes with each other. This can be useful in detecting malicious content and also in identifying false positives which are the harmless items sometimes detected as malicious by one or more scanners.

If you find a suspicious web site or receive a suspicious document of any kind then try the virustotal checker.

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DVLA Website Scammer

It is a common scam that people setup websites to look just like official websites where people go to do official business such as getting a new driving licence, updating their passport, paying a car parking bill or paying for entry to a town centre congestion zone etc.

You might think these people are regular criminals or teen age computer hackers, but they can turn out to be apparently respectable people.

Simon Button set up a website offering DVLA Licence Applications.  He charged people £91.60 to fill in the application and his site would then send the form to the DVLA.  The customers did get their licence application BUT this is a nasty trick to play on people as the real cost at the DVLA website is only £34.

Button paid for Google adverts so that his website came higher on searches (e,g, for ‘replacement driving licence’) than the official DVLA website.

When you search for official services on Google or other search engines you expect the official site to come top of the list and most people will notice if it doesn’t but for many in a hurry it’s a case of clicking without reading too carefully and they can end up paying a lot more than necessary – to line the pockets of greedy scammers such as Simon Button.

Google did remove the adverts for Button’s website when notified, as it breached their rules on selling products or services that are available from the Government at a lower price without a clear added value.

Simon Button is a solicitor, specialising in commercial property, as well as director of the International Colleagues School of English, a school in Norwich.

His website does carry a disclaimer saying it is not affiliated to the DVLA, but it’s easy to miss that or misunderstand it.

Copycat sites such as Simon Button’s pop up all the time, so be careful if you want to make an official transaction – do not be ripped off .

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