Signs of E-mail Account Takeover

How to Protect Yourself from Fraud

In today’s digital age, e-mail has become an integral part of our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, the rise in online fraud has made it crucial to be vigilant about the security of our e-mail accounts. E-mail account takeover represents a significant portion of online fraud, accounting for 38% of such incidents. In this blog post, we will discuss five telltale signs of an e-mail account takeover and provide you with actionable steps to protect yourself.

  1. Weird E-mails: One of the first signs that your e-mail account may have been compromised is receiving strange e-mails. These can be replies from people you know or even from unknown individuals that have no relevance to the e-mails you have sent. Additionally, if you come across unfamiliar messages in your sent folder or deleted items, it could indicate unauthorized access to your account. Pay attention to any inconsistencies and investigate further if you suspect foul play.
  2. New Signature: Another red flag of e-mail account takeover is the sudden appearance of a strange or unfamiliar signature in your e-mails. This could manifest as an unusual design, text, or even changes in your contact information, such as a modified phone number within your regular signature. If you notice such alterations without having made them yourself, it’s essential to take immediate action to secure your account.
  3. Profile Changes: Keep a close eye on any modifications made to your e-mail account profile. Attackers may attempt to change your authentication methods or update your phone number without your knowledge. These changes serve as a means for the attacker to maintain control over your account and prevent you from regaining access. Regularly review your account settings and verify the accuracy of your contact information to prevent potential unauthorized changes.
  4. Auto-Forwarding: An obvious sign of e-mail account takeover is the activation of auto-forwarding rules that you did not set up. Attackers may create new forwarding rules to send specific messages, such as those containing the word “invoice,” to an external e-mail address or even to the trash folder. This tactic enables them to read and manipulate sensitive information while ensuring that you remain unaware. Monitor your e-mail settings and investigate any unexpected forwarding rules promptly.
  5. Password Changes: One of the most alarming signs of an e-mail account takeover is the sudden influx of password-change requests from various online platforms. Attackers often attempt to gain access to your other accounts by targeting your e-mail account first. If you receive multiple password-change requests from social media, cloud service providers, or other online tools, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Change your e-mail password immediately and review the security settings of your other accounts to prevent further unauthorized access.

Protecting Yourself: If you notice any of these signs or suspect that your e-mail account has been compromised, it’s important to act swiftly to protect your information. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Contact your e-mail provider: Reach out to your e-mail service provider’s customer support immediately. They can assist you in securing your account and guide you through the recovery process.
  2. Change your password: Create a strong, unique password for your e-mail account. Avoid using common phrases or easily guessable information. Consider enabling two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.
  3. Review account settings: Regularly review and update your account settings to ensure they reflect your preferences. Verify the accuracy of your contact information and any authentication methods associated with your account.
  4. Enable security features: Utilize any security features offered by your e-mail provider, such as email encryption or suspicious activity alerts. These additional layers of protection can help safeguard your account against unauthorized access.

As e-mail account takeover continues to be a significant source of online fraud, it is crucial to remain vigilant and recognize the signs of compromise. By being aware of the telltale signs discussed in this post, you can take immediate action and protect yourself from further damage. Remember, if you suspect that your e-mail account has been compromised, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help plan and implement the necessary security measures. Stay proactive and safeguard your digital presence against e-mail account takeover.