How to tell if your Gmail Account has been compromised…

I recently made a decision to use my Gmail account as my primary email client and have not regretted it.  Gmail is a little different than the email clients you may be used to with terms like conversations, labels, and stars; but, once you learn and get past that there is no going back ( in my opinion).  Oh, and not forgetting to mention, it is fast.

One really neat feature to look for when you log into your Gmail account next time is located at the very bottom of your Gmail pages.  It is called “Last account activity”…  (see below).

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If you click on the “Details” link, you can find information about recent activity in your mail account (see below). Recent activity is a log of sorts that tracks the occasions your account is accessed. This includes any times that your mail account was accessed, using a regular web browser, through a POP client, from a mobile device, etc. A list of IP addresses from which the access was made, as well as the time and date, is also collected and made available.

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Why is this important?

By using this feature you can determine if there are any signs that your account has been compromised.  For example, many users typically sign into their Gmail using a single computer (e.g. your computer at home). In this scenario, your IP address should start with the same two sets of numbers (for example, 168.18.xx.xx).  If you start seeing the first two sets of these numbers greatly varying from your typical IP address numbers, it means one of two things.  One, you recently accessed your mail from a different location or two someone else has accessed your account.

The whole point of this article is to point this feature out to you and to prompt you into using it.  The more you use it, the more you will understand it.  It just may save you from having your account hijacked.  In the event you suspect that your account has been compromised, I suggest you immediately change your Gmail password and security question.

To learn more about Gmail and its’ features, I encourage you to visit Gmail Support and The Official Gmail Blog .

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7 thoughts on “How to tell if your Gmail Account has been compromised…

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  1. A very important article Rick.

    Email accounts are penetrated much more often than people realize. Here’s an example of what can happen.

    Back at the time that I was writing for Makeuseof, their Gmail account was penetrated which ultimately led to the complete takeover of the Makeuseof site, by a hacker. The site was then held for ransome.

    Long story short – it took 3 days to get the site back after a loss of $1,000’s.

    If it can happen to the pros, it can certainly happen to the average computer user.

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  2. What I do is use my Gmail for business mails only.
    And most business sites prefer Gmail.
    I use two other safer servers for my personals although Gmail is more organized and so easier to use.
    Thanks for the great tip again Rick!

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  3. my gmail account was recently compromised and the hacker pretending to be me sent out a email stationg that I was stranded, robbed and stuck in the UK and requested for money to be wired to a specific western union address, when my contacts replied, the hacker also responded, this became a nightmare for me and the rest, you can just imagine…. so your site here provides exellent help. after this happened to me, google was of no help to me at all. but today I noticed on the top of the gmail, they have added extra securities….

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    1. Angela,

      Thank you for visiting the blog… I too know a person that had their Hotmail account hijacked. Very similar situation. Make sure you always use strong password protection and routinely change that password… Once you are hijacked you will never get the account back. Your experience may make for a great blog article to warn others… Thank you for sharing this experience with us all.

      Rick

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