Most of us have received suspicious email that looks like it came from someone on our contact list. These emails could contain a virus or other type of malware, or they could be a scam designed to trick you into turning over personal information or money.
Did the person from your contact list suddenly become a cybercriminal? Probably not. It’s more likely that someone has gained access to their email account and is using the account for malicious activity. This is known as hijacking. If you think someone’s account has been hijacked, you can try to let them know by contacting them by phone or by an alternative email address if you have one.
I think my own Hotmail account has been hijacked. What should I do?
If your Hotmail account has been hijacked, follow these steps from the Windows Live Solution Center:
- Can you still sign in? If you can, then go to Account.Live.com and change your password.
- Are you asked for your cell phone number after signing in? At sign in, Hotmail might ask for a cell phone number in order to send a text message with a secret code for you to enter. This helps prevent spammers from using your account.
- If you can’t sign in, try resetting your password:
- If you set up a location and secret question on your account, you can enter the answer to reset your password. Go to reset your password and select Use my location information and secret answer to verify my identity.
- If you set up an alternative email address on your account, you can send yourself a password reset link. Go to reset your password and select Send password reset instructions to me in e-mail.
None of the above options worked. What do I do now?
If you can’t sign in or reset your password, go to the Windows Live Validation page, and submit the requested information. This process takes time (from 48 to 72 hours) so only use this if the previous options don’t work for you.
The validation process will ask for key information about your account that only you would be able to provide. This allows Hotmail to verify that you are the legitimate owner of the account.
For more information, go to http://windowslivehelp.com/accountrecovery