Hacked? How to take back account

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Karen Ziglar of the Straughn Community knew something was up when her inbox was flooded with “not valid email addresses” responses Monday.

Soon, it was apparent her Yahoo email account had been hacked.

“My email is linked to my phone, so I received several notices back to back,” Ziglar said. “I knew I had not sent out any emails since earlier in the day, and I had not sent any to these contacts at all, so I knew something was up.”

It’s a practice that countless Americans go through each day. As soon as Ziglar realized her account was hacked into, she attempted to send out an email alerting her contacts, but couldn’t.

“My account had been flagged as being hacked, so I could receive emails, but I couldn’t send them out because they wanted to make sure that it was really me that was sending them out,” she said. “Because I could not open what had been sent, I had no idea what the content was. I was concerned that it was some kind of pornographic image or link or some kind of vulgar language.”

Ziglar was finally able to send her apologies after waiting hours after changing her email password. She said this was the second time in a year that her Yahoo email account was hacked.

“The last time it sent out a link for free samples of Viagra,” she said. “If it happens a third time I will probably shut down this email and get another one.”

Computer officials said Ziglar’s description of events is exactly what happens when an email account is hacked.

If your account has been hacked, here’s what you do:

• Recover your account. Log into your provider’s account immediately. If you can’t, even though you know you’ve typed the correct password, it’s likely the hacker has already changed it. If so, try the “I forgot my password” option.

• Change your password and recovery information, i.e., the answers to your secret questions.

• Then, check all your related accounts – everything from your bank to Paypal to Facebook and credit card companies.

• Let all your friends know.

• Lastly, back up all your contacts.

If all else fails, call a computer professional.