According to the FBI’s 2019 Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) report – “the IC3 received 467,361 complaints – an average of 1,300 complaints every day – and recorded more that $35 billion in losses to individuals and business victims. Of them, 23,775 complaints where related to email compromises which resulted in a total of $1.7 billion in losses.” – (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2020).
Cyber-criminals continue to target emails because it is easy, and users continue to fall prey to their malicious tactics. Thankfully, there are signs when someone is accessing your email account and there are also ways to regain control of it.
Signs your email account is compromised:
- Unable to login – if you lost your ability to login to your account, this could be a sign that someone has gained unauthorized access to your account.
- Suspicious sent items and email rules – most attackers want to borrow your email account to intercept password reset emails to attempt to gain access to financial accounts, or to send phishing emails to your contacts to gain access to their email accounts. Looking for suspicious sent items and inbox rules will help identify these methods.
Protecting your accounts:
- Change your password – if you think your email account has been compromised, changing your password will begin the process to stop the unauthorized individual from accessing this account.
- Enable multi-factor authentication to your email account – most email providers (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo) offer these additional security controls. Enabling multifactor is one of the best ways to protect your account. The cyber-criminal might have your password; however, they do not have your multifactor device.
Once you regain control of your email account, let friends and family know that your email account might have been compromised, as they too may need to protect their email accounts.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2020, 02 11). 2019 Internet Crime Report Released . Retrieved from FBI: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2019-internet-crime-report-released-021120
To view the article in the online 2020 Fall Partners Magazine, click here.