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You’ve probably used the same email account for years – to keep in touch with old friends, sign up for social media accounts and receive billing statements. As a result, your email account is likely to hold a lot of your personal information.

That’s why it’s so important your account is for your eyes only. It can be tricky to spot whether your email account has been hacked, but we’re going to take you through some tell-tale signs to look out for.

Change in your password

One sign that your account has been hacked is if you’re unable to sign into your account. If your usual password is not accepted and you did not change it yourself, it’s likely that someone else has instead.

It’s fairly obvious why a fraudster would want to gain access to your account – they’d be able to read all of your emails (from your inbox, sent and deleted folders) and potentially piece together the relevant information they need to access other accounts of yours (e.g. social media accounts like Facebook) or potentially your bank account.

To get around this, you could set up extra verification measures (such as a second email) to put up an additional block in front of hackers.

Make sure you have a strong password too as this can make it harder to gain access to your accounts. Use a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. You should make sure you don’t use the same password for multiple accounts either.

Be careful about the information you give out on social media, as this could give fraudsters the details they need to hack your account.

Unusual activity

Keep a clear eye on your account for any unusual activity. If your account is hacked, you could see messages in your sent folders you didn’t send or password reset emails you never asked for.

You should get in touch with friends if your account is sending out spam. Warn them not to open anything they recently received from you and suggest they run anti-virus software on their machines.

If you’re receiving suspicious emails, this might be a fraudster’s way of trying to trick you into handing over sensitive information that they need to access your bank or credit card accounts. These emails can come in all different forms – so take note of the top phishing email scams to look out for.

You might even get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank and asking you for personal information. Just remember, your bank or thinkmoney will never ask you for your PIN or online password over the phone.

Listen out for the news

There have been a number of high profile hacks over the years. But last year in particular saw big-name companies like TalkTalk, Marks & Spencer and British Gas all hit by cyber-attacks.

Often, your first indication that your email account might be compromised is the news – so keep your ear out for any new hacks that might happen, and how this could affect you.

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