Hotmail hijacked? Here’s what to do

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:

  1. Can you still sign in? If you can, then go to and change your password.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    Why doesn't Microsoft provide fraud reporting like Google gmail?

  2. Anonymous

    I have tried this Windows Live Validation but it has not worked.  I have filled it out twice and still not one person has gotten back to me.  This is the exact letter that has been sent out.  Now they are asking my contacts for money.

  3. Anonymous

    how do get the code if ur country is not in the sms list

  4. Anonymous

    I have the same problem. People on my contact list received the same letteras hanah above did….suggesting I was robbed in london England. I went the and it has not helped. Any other suggestions? It baffels me that Microsoft is aware of this and is not doing anything about it

  5. Anonymous

    Microsoft should be held responsible. But how?

  6. Anonymous

    Tammy, in my case the person who has hijacked my email has even corresponded back and forth people on my contact list.

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