I think my email account is sending spam to my contacts, what should I do?
My contact is sending spam to my email account, what should I do?
The Quick Answer
If your email account is sending spam, do the following:
- Change your email account password.
- Run virus checks on your computer(s) and smart phone(s).
- Change your email account password, again.
- Change all of your account passwords, especially important accounts and those that use the same password that was compromised.
- Any time you see that one of your contacts’ accounts is sending spam make sure to forward them this article as quickly as possible.
The Full Answer
If your contact, someone you know who is a real person, is sending you spam, you should send them an email/text/etc. informing them of the issue and include a link to this article in the message.
If your email account is sending spam, the email account has most likely been compromised by a hacker/spammer.
This is a fairly common occurrence, especially among online email clients like yahoo, gmail and outlook.com. That is not to say that it doesn’t occur with personal domain email accounts or other smaller email systems, it’s simply less common.
If you can still log into your account, then you should change your password. In most cases this will stop the spam from being sent out.
If you can’t log into your account you will have to contact your account provider and inform them of what has happened and regain control of your account.
You should also run virus software on all of your computers to make sure your computers have not been compromised.
It is also common that your smart phone has been compromised and has a virus. You should install and run virus protection for your phone as well. I recommend Lookout (https://www.lookout.com/).
Once you run the virus scans and a virus is found, make sure to remove it, and then change your email password again.
Then make sure to change the password for any other accounts that use the same password as your email account. I know this can be a big task, but it is necessary.
If you did find a virus, you may want to change all of your passwords for all of your accounts. It is likely that the virus has been tracking some or all of your password inputs.
My email account was hacked a few years ago and I changed most of my passwords, but forgot one. About six months after the initial hack, the hacker got into my itunes account and spent my available balance. Luckily I didn’t have a credit card associated with the account at the time.
Since you are going to be changing your passwords anyway, it would be a good time to create a stronger password scheme. Find out more about best password practices.