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Federal Trade Commission 

Tips For Consumers: 08/01/2013

FTC Advises Consumers on Preventing, Identifying, and Dealing With Hacked Email or Social Networking Accounts

The Federal Trade Commission has new tips to help people deal with email and social networking hacks, whether itís lessening the chances of a hack in the first place, or recovering from a hack once it happens.

Hacked Email, new guidance from the FTC, identifies signs an account may have been hacked such as friends and family members receiving messages the user didnít send, a sent folder emptied, social media posts the user didnít create, or email or other accounts the user canít open.

If consumers think they have been hacked, the FTC encourages them to take the following actions:

  • Make sure security software is up-to-date and delete malware;
  • Change passwords;
  • Check with their email provider or social networking site for information about restoring the account;
  • Check account settings; and
  • Tell your friends

Using unique passwords for important sites like banking and email and safeguarding user names and passwords can help users protect themselves from hackers. The FTC recommends users turn on two-factor authentication if a service provider offers it; not click on links or open attachments from unknown users; and only download free software from sites a user knows and trusts. When using a public computer, do not let web browsers remember passwords, and log out of all accounts when finished.

The FTC also provides more tips for using public wi-fi networks.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTCís online Complaint Assistant or call     1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTCís website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Cheryl Hackley
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180