The following is a guest post by a friend of The Computer Guy, Pastor David Boogerd. He tells of his issues with his hijacked email accounts. This has been common lately and he tells how he fought back and WON! Thank you for sharing your story with my blog readers!
Recently my Google email account (gmailiPad. The hacker also had changed my settings to forward any incoming email to an account that was a duplicate of my @gmail.com account, but was a @live.com account. Because I received several phone calls within minutes of the changes taking effect I had the forwarding turned off within 30 minutes of it taking effect. To check on that, go to settings and choose “forwarding”.
Getting my contacts and email back took a little longer, but only because it took longer to find the steps I had to take. It turns out that Google makes it easy to restore your contacts. On the Contacts page, choose “More” and then choose “Restore Contacts.” This can be handy if you do something like messing up your contacts when merging or importing another contact file, but it works great when all your contacts have been deleted. The “Restore Contacts” setting will restore your contacts to any time in the last 30 days. In moments all your contacts will be restored. Directions can be found here: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/1069522?hl=en&ref_topic=1689180
Restoring the email took longer. If you do a google search for “restoring email after it’s deleted” you will find a number of places which will tell you that once your email is deleted from the trash folder, you are out of luck. However, mixed in with all of these I found a more hopeful page. https://support.google.com/mail/answer/78353?hl=en This page explains the steps to take. First, it will explain how to secure your account, then how to make sure your email is actually gone. It might just have all been sent to the “Trash” folder, which you can easily rectify. If everything is actually gone, the page contains a link to “file a report.” (It’s at the end of the second paragraph.) Within an hour of filing the report my emails were all back.
Hopefully you will never have to go through this, but if you do, there are helpful steps to take. To keep it from happening, if you use gmail,com, and have not already done so, activate the “two-stop verification” process they offer. It complicates things a little more (which is why I didn’t do it before), but if anyone tries to access your account from a computer Google does not recognize (or from any computer if that is how you set it) you will be asked for a verification code, which is sent as a text or voice message to a phone number your designate. Without that access code, your account cannot be accessed.
Again, thanks to David for sharing his story -- hopefully, it won't happen to you.