5 Signs You Have Been Hacked

Getting hacked is no fun. You feel violated, and it can be a huge hassle to recover and protect your accounts.

The good news is there are usually signs that indicate your accounts have been compromised. Being aware of these signs allows you to act quickly to secure your data and minimize damage. In this post, I’ll go over the top signs that you may have been hacked.

Strange activity in your email

A common indicator of a hack is unusual activity in your email account. Here are some specific things to look out for:

  • Emails being sent from your account that you didn’t write. Scammers may use your contact list to spam or phish.
  • Password reset emails for accounts you didn’t initiate. A hacker may trigger these to gain access.
  • Logins from unrecognized devices or locations. Check your email login history for any unknown IP addresses.
  • Deleted emails and contacts. Hackers may try to cover their tracks by erasing emails.
  • Rule changes like email forwards. Hackers add rules to silently collect your emails.
  • Increased spam and phishing emails. Your address may end up on lists after a breach.

If you notice any weird emails coming from your account, change your password immediately. Review your sent items, rules, folders, and login history closely.

Suspicious social media activity

Social media accounts are common hacker targets. Be on the lookout for:

  • Strange posts or messages not made by you. A hacker may post spam links or inflammatory content.
  • New friend requests sent to people you don’t know. Hackers use your account to send spam connection requests.
  • Login alerts for unknown locations. Check the login details of your social accounts.
  • Modified profile information like links or bio text. Hackers add spammy links and text.
  • Being logged out suddenly. Hackers may force log you out after changing login credentials.

If your social accounts start doing things you didn’t initiate, secure your accounts immediately. Review all posts, connections, and profile details for anything suspicious.

Increased credit card charges

If hackers gain access to your passwords, they may target financial accounts too. Watch for:

  • Purchases you don’t recognize on your credit card statements.
  • Suspicious charges from unfamiliar vendors. Examine charges closely.
  • Password reset emails from financial institutions. Hackers try to reset your banking password.
  • Credit card applications submitted using your info. Hackers may try to open new cards in your name.
  • Calls from debt collectors about debts not yours. Accounts opened fraudulently by hackers get sold to collectors when unpaid.

If you see any unauthorized credit charges, report them to your card provider right away. Closely monitor statements and check your credit reports regularly for any fraudulent activity.

Strange activity on accounts

Hackers often target entertainment and retail accounts to make fraudulent purchases. Notice:

  • Password change confirmations you didn’t initiate. Hackers take over accounts and change login credentials.
  • Purchases of gift cards you didn’t make. Hackers use your payment info on file to buy gift cards.
  • New user profiles on your streaming or gaming accounts. Hackers may create profiles to resell account access.
  • Account login emails from unrecognized devices. Hackers login from new IP addresses and devices.
  • Being logged out of accounts suddenly. Hackers force logout to take over your account access.

If you notice any unauthorized access or changes to your accounts, start resetting passwords immediately. Remove any unknown user profiles, devices, or payment details not yours.

Computer behavior changes

Hackers can gain remote access to your computer to steal data or spy. Notice:

  • New, unknown programs installed on your computer. Malware may be installed to harvest your info or render your computer unusable.
  • Popups for suspicious downloads or software updates. Hackers use scareware popups to trick you into downloading malware.
  • Browser redirects to unknown websites. Hackers add malware that redirects your browser.
  • Sluggish computer performance. Some malware uses your CPU power for crypto mining which slows your computer.
  • Disabled security software notifications. Hackers may disable your antivirus to avoid detection.

If your computer starts acting weird, disconnect it from the internet immediately. Scan your whole system with updated antivirus software to check for infections. You may need to wipe your computer and reinstall your OS if infections persist.

What to do if hacked

If you suspect you’ve been hacked, take action ASAP:

  • Change passwords on all potentially compromised accounts. Make them long and complex.
  • Enable two-factor authentication everywhere possible for added security.
  • Scan devices for malware, viruses, and keylogging software. Completely wipe devices if needed.
  • Contact banks and credit card companies about unauthorized charges. Freeze accounts if needed.
  • Monitor your credit and financial accounts closely for signs of further misuse.
  • File a complaint with the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov and local law enforcement.
  • Consider credit monitoring or identity theft protection services to catch future fraud.

Getting hacked can be invasive and stressful. By spotting the warning signs early, you can take swift action to secure accounts and minimize damage. Be vigilant, and don’t hesitate to act at the first sign of trouble. Your time and energy are well spent protecting your sensitive information.