Although it may seem strange at first, an email account is a goldmine for fraudsters. A hacker may do more than just steal your prized chicken casserole recipe; they can also harm your identity and wallet.
So, why are fraudsters interested in your email address? What can a fraudster do with your phone number and email address? And what if they figure out your password?
What Can a Scammer Do With My Email Address?
Scammers generally get access to an email account via brute-force assaults or a database breach. They can do a variety of things with your email account if they get access to it.
1. They Can Impersonate You
It’s common knowledge that you should never trust an email from someone you don’t know. As a result, emails saying you won $4 million in a lottery you never participated are less likely to deceive consumers.
Scammers, on the other hand, are discovering a way around this. While the suggestion makes us more skeptical of emails from strangers, it also increases our confidence in emails from individuals we know and love.
Scammers take advantage of this flaw by stealing email accounts and then using those accounts to contact the victim’s friends and relatives. If the scammer is skilled at impersonation, they may fool the victim’s contacts into thinking they’re speaking with the victim.
The fraudster may now instruct the victim to do anything they want. They may pretend to be in financial distress and beg their pals to wire money to the hacker. They may provide a link to a dangerous application while pretending to be a video of the buddy doing something humiliating.
As a result, even if it’s apparently your close buddy sending you an email, you should proceed with care. Whether in doubt, try contacting them via phone or another means, such as social media, to determine if their request is valid.
2. They Can Crack the Passwords on Your Other Accounts
When you join up for a website with poor security standards, they will send you an email verifying your login and password. Anyone who has access to your email will see all of this.
For this reason, most websites do not or cannot divulge the password in the sign-up email (although some storing it as plain text do).These emails, on the other hand, are likely to include your login in the sign-up email, which a hacker may exploit to obtain access to your account.
For example, if you use the same password for your email account as you do for your other accounts, the hacker already knows the password they need to access your other accounts.
If you do not, the hacker will be able to request password resets from each site. The website sends a password reset email to your account, which the hacker may then use to alter the password to their liking.
3. They Can Use It to Crack Email-Based Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
A hacker may obtain the password to another person’s account yet be blocked by an email-based two-factor authentication (2FA) scheme. Hackers may bypass 2FA systems by gaining access to the locations where authentication codes are presented.
If a hacker gains access to your email account, they can bypass any email-based 2FA safeguards you have in place.
When a website detects an odd login pattern, it may send you an email. This email will often ask you whether the login attempt was legitimate and will provide a button to confirm the login attempt. If hackers obtain your email address, they may circumvent this security safeguard by accepting their login attempt when the email arrives.
4. They Can Collect Sensitive Information
If the hacker gains access to a workplace email account, the consequences might be disastrous. The hacker may see any sensitive financial information, workplace login information, or passwords to physical locks. This knowledge enables them to commit digital or physical theft against the company.
Personal accounts’ inboxes may also include sensitive information. Any financial interaction might reveal information that a fraudster could use to make transactions on your behalf.
5. They Can Steal Your Identity
If your account does not include any vital business information, a hacker may simply take your identity.
A hacker may get a great deal of information from your emails. Invoices clearly display your name and address, and the scammer may gather any images you may have given. If the hacker has sufficient information, they may use it to steal your identity and apply for services in your name.
Keep all of your personal information on the internet private from inquisitive eyes. It’s important studying about the information used to steal your identity so you know what you may reveal and what you should keep private.
6. They Can Learn When You’re Out
If a hacker discovers transportation tickets or hotel reservation information in your email, they’ll know you’re away from home on those days. When this is combined with your address from an invoice, a fraudster knows when and when to break into your house.
It is critical to keep your trip plans and destinations hidden, otherwise you risk inviting criminals to your house. Even event tickets might reveal when you’ll be gone.
Burglars can tell when you’re on vacation in a variety of ways, so keep things quiet while you’re gone. Don’t panic; you can always publish those beach selfies and photographs when you get home!
What to Do If a Scammer Has Your Email Address
If a fraudster obtains access to your email account, you should attempt to reset the password as soon as possible. If the hacker hasn’t thought about changing it, you’ll have some time to create a new, stronger password and kick the hacker out.
Unfortunately, hackers will most likely alter your password in order to shut you out. In this situation, you’ll need to visit your email provider’s help website to re-unlock it. They will normally want previous login details and may request verification of identification before returning your account.
After you’ve changed your password, consider adding a 2FA security feature to your account. Even if a hacker obtains your password again, they must also possess the 2FA token, which is easier said than done.
If this piques your curiosity, be sure to learn how to use 2FA to safeguard your Gmail and Outlook accounts.
Protecting Yourself From Scammers
You may not be concerned about a hacker obtaining access to your email account, but consider how much information a stranger can obtain simply reading your email. Compromise email accounts are potential goldmines for fraudsters, so protect yours with a strong password.
Now that you’ve learned how to secure your account, it’s time to learn how to identify a bogus email. After all, if you’re aware of the scammer’s strategies for duping you into thinking they’re someone else, your chances of falling for their trap are much reduced.
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