Having your email or social media hacked is not a fun experience. Most people don’t find out until friends and family have received spam emails or posts. In fact, over 600,000 Facebook accounts are hacked every day. Over the course of a year, that’s equivalent to over two-thirds of the U.S. population.
If you’ve been hacked, the Better Business Bureau and the FTC recommend taking the following steps to secure your accounts:
• Update your operating system. Scan for and remove viruses and malware. Consider using antivirus and anti-malware on your mobile devices as well.
• Change your passwords for your hacked accounts and any others with similar passwords. For more information, visit http://1.usa.gov/1E71Jca.
• If you can’t log in to your account, contact the online service for help. For a list of links that help you get back into your accounts once hacked, visit Stay Safe Online at http://bit.ly/1GpxEX9.
• When you have access to your account, investigate for unexpected settings, such as strange links in auto-responder messages or forwarding to another account.
• Let your email contacts, friends and family know that you’ve been hacked and that they shouldn’t click any links in emails or posts from your account that seem strange.
Some tips to help avoid getting hacked include:
• Safeguard user names and passwords for online accounts. Never share this information in response to unsolicited emails, which may in fact be phishing emails from scammers.
• Use two-factor authentication when your account provider offers it. Along with your password, another authentication, such as a code sent to your mobile phone, is required to access your account.
• Don’t click on links in emails or download attachments if you don’t know or trust the sender. If email arrives unexpectedly from someone you know, don’t trust it until you’ve verified it is real.
• Research before you download free software to make sure the source is trustworthy.
• Avoid logging in to your accounts from public computers and public Wi-Fi.
For more tips you can trust, visit the BBB Blog at www.bbb.org/blog/ or call (509) 455-4200.
Erin Dodge, BBB editor
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