Help! My account is sending out spam

Laura writes:

My Hotmail email address has been hacked. Someone sent out a spam email to everyone in my address book. What do I do?

If it makes you feel any better, Laura, we get this question a lot. Here’s what to do right now:

IMPORTANT: Make sure your new password isn’t one that you use on other accounts or websites. Also, create a password using eight or more characters that don’t form a word that can be found in the dictionary. Find more tips for creating strong passwords.

Should I let everyone know that I’ve been hacked?

Recently we’ve been asked whether we recommend that you send everyone in your contact list an email that warns them not to click on links in emails from you. This really is a personal choice. The most important thing to do is change your password right away.

Personally, we don’t think that an email to everyone in your contact list is necessary. Here’s why:

  • It’s time consuming. Your email contact list could contain every person to whom you’ve ever sent a message from that address. Your email program probably won’t allow you to send one message to everyone in your contact list because it will view it as spam.
  • We think most people probably already know that a message with a random link is usually spam—especially if it’s from someone who doesn’t contact them regularly. Chances are good that such people make up a majority of your contacts, so they might consider an email telling them what they already know as more spam.

However, if you know of anyone in your contact list who is less computer savvy, it couldn’t hurt to send them an email.

If you use the new free email service and you get spam email from someone, you can notify them and then, from the Mark as menu, click My friend’s been hacked to notify Outlook so we can minimize the damage as soon as possible. Learn more about the new

What do you think?

Should victims of email hacking notify everyone in their contact list? Give us your opinion in the “Leave a Comment” section below. 

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

    I have received these e-mails with only links in the message from friends.  I do not reply to the e-mail even though it is their correct e-mail address but I genereste a new e-mail telling them that I got a bogus mesaage, but they never answer back.  Is there someway that the spam people have of redirecting my message?

  2. Anonymous

    You should add specific advice for Hotmail users who have been hacked, cannot acces their Hotmail account anymore, and cannot reset their password either.

  3. Anonymous

    I have a simpler solution, to avoid the problem all together: keep your address book EMPTY.  Sure, it's a pain having to manually type an address (or cut and paste it from another e-mail), but at least this way should one of these malware get on your machine, and look for addresses to send to, it finds NOTHING!

  4. Anonymous

    This Kind informe to you I have my E mail ID which is not going to open from last week,After several requests you blocked due to somebody is using it, But I am sure this address is not using myself only. Please open it as soon as possible, about thousand Important Mails are there.

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