Signs Your Email May Be Compromised & How to Protect Your Account

Posted on Mar 20th, 2024
Email Compromise

In today’s digital age, our email accounts are gateways to our personal and professional lives. From sensitive information to important communication, our emails contain a treasure trove of data. However, with the increasing prevalence of cyber threats, it’s essential to be proactive in safeguarding our online accounts. One of the first steps in protecting yourself is to ascertain whether your email has been compromised. Here are a few ways to detect potential breaches and take action to secure your account.

Signs of Email Compromise:

There are several warning signs that your email account may have been compromised. You may notice any one of the signs listed below or a combination of each.

  1. Unusual Activity: Keep an eye out for any unusual activities in your email account, such as emails you didn’t send, unfamiliar contacts added to your address book, or changes in settings without your consent.
  2. Spam and Phishing Emails: If you notice an influx of spam emails or emails requesting sensitive information purportedly from trusted sources, it could indicate that your email address has been compromised.
  3. Failed Login Attempts: Many email providers offer features to track login attempts. Check for any failed login attempts from unknown locations or devices, which could be a sign of unauthorized access attempts.
  4. Missing Emails: If you’re suddenly missing emails from your inbox or notice emails in your sent folder that you didn’t send, it’s a red flag indicating potential compromise.
  5. Account Lockout Notifications: Some email services send notifications when there are multiple failed login attempts or when your account is locked out due to suspicious activity. Take these notifications seriously and investigate further.

In certain circumstances you may not notice any of these warnings for a compromised account. Bad actors continually develop new methods for acquiring credentials to access accounts and it is important to routinely monitor your account to see if it has been found in a recent data breach.

An online tool you can use to see if your email has been found in a recent data breach is By typing your email address into the search bar, you can quickly see if your account has been compromised.

What to Do If Your Email Has Been Compromised:

  1. Change Your Password Immediately: The first and most crucial step is to change your email password immediately. Choose a strong, unique password that you haven’t used before and enable two-factor authentication (2FA), if available, if you haven’t already.
  2. Check and Update Recovery Information: Review and update the recovery email address and phone number associated with your email account. This ensures that you have control over account recovery options and can regain access more easily if needed.
  3. Scan Your Device for Malware: Run a thorough antivirus and malware scan on any devices you use to access your email account. Malware or keyloggers on your device could have contributed to the compromise, so it’s important to ensure your devices are clean.
  4. Review and Secure Other Accounts: If you use the compromised email address for other accounts, review and secure those accounts immediately. Change passwords, enable 2FA where available, and monitor for any suspicious activity.
  5. Notify Your Financial Institution: Notify any financial institution where you use the email account to conduct online banking immediately upon discovering the compromise. Inform them of the situation to prevent unauthorized access to your financial accounts and to enable them to implement additional security measures. They may advise you on further steps to protect your financial information and may also monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity.

    If you feel your email account has been compromised and have Online Banking through Mid Penn Bank, contact our Customer Care Team immediately at 1.866.642.7736 to secure your accounts.

  6. Notify Contacts: If you suspect that your email account has been used to send spam or phishing emails to your contacts, notify them immediately. Advise them to be cautious of any emails received from your account during the period of compromise. Caution your contacts against clicking links or accessing attachments from emails sent from your account during a compromise. These links and attachments may contain malware which can put your contacts at risk.
  7. Report the Compromise to Your Email Provider: Contact your email service provider’s support team to report the compromise. They may be able to provide further assistance, such as additional security measures or guidance on recovering your account.
  8. Review Account Settings and Permissions: Check your email account settings for any unauthorized changes, such as forwarding rules or email filters set up by the attacker. Remove any unfamiliar forwarding addresses or permissions granted to third-party apps.
  9. Monitor Your Account: Keep a close eye on your email account for any further signs of unauthorized activity. Regularly review your login activity, sent items, and other account details for anything suspicious.
  10. Educate Yourself and Take Preventive Measures: Use the incident as an opportunity to educate yourself about common phishing techniques and cybersecurity best practices. Implement additional security measures, such as using a password manager, to prevent future compromises.
  11. Consider Professional Assistance: If you’re unable to regain control of your email account or suspect a more sophisticated attack, consider seeking assistance from cybersecurity professionals or your organization’s IT department.

Detecting email compromises early is crucial for minimizing potential damage and securing your digital presence. By staying vigilant, regularly monitoring your account activity, and following best security practices, you can mitigate the risks associated with email compromise and safeguard your sensitive information effectively. Remember, proactive measures are key to staying one step ahead of cyber threats in today’s interconnected world.



The material on this site was created for educational purposes. It is not intended to be and should not be treated as legal, tax, investment, accounting, or other professional advice.

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