What to do if your online account is hacked

If your online account is hacked, the first thing you’ll need to do is regain control of it. That’s the case whether you’re talking about a Facebook logon, an online email service or a bank account. Some of your online accounts hold debit and credit card details, others have access to your contacts, so you can’t delay when you realise you’ve been hacked.
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No matter which type of account is hacked, you won’t want anyone else to get their hands on your personal data, so change the password to something unusual and strong. Using a mixture of capitals, lower case letters and symbols will give you a strong password but be careful not to use the same one on too many different accounts you hold, particularly if all of them are tied to the same Email account. You may find that your password’s been changed by the hacker. If that’s the case, get in touch with the website using the email address linked to your account. They’ll run you through the process of establishing a new password.

Social media

Although this might not seem like the most important accounts to worry about when you realise your password’s been hacked, you’ll need to look into this. Hackers could use your account to bombard your friends on Facebook or your colleagues on Linkedin with posts that encourage them to click on links attached to malicious code. When your account is compromised, notify all of your contacts and tell them that they may have received spam from you. Tell them not to open any items or click any links. Remember that there may be contacts who are not as tech savvy as you are, so spell out the dangers. When you’ve done that, run your antivirus program.

Bank account

If you find that your online bank account has been hacked or that your PayPal account has been accessed by hackers, you'll need to pick up the phone. Calling your bank is the quickest way of alerting them. They'll talk you through the process of recovering your funds if any were removed from your account. PayPal and online banks are very aware of the dangers attached to the web so they flag up suspicious transactions and stop them from going through. A sudden withdrawal of all of your funds or payments made to other countries you haven't previously sent money to, tend to raise the alarm, but don't rely on this.

Protect yourself

Prevention is always better than cure so take steps to protect yourself. Keeping your PC clean with the latest security programs and regularly running your antivirus are good ways of protecting your online accounts. Making long passwords and having passwords that are unique to each account is another way of protecting yourself from hackers.

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