An "e-mail account take-over" is a term used when a hacker gains access to a user's email account and assumes ownership. Once this takes place, the original owner can no longer gain access to their account, and information from personal files can be made available to the hacker.
Typically, e-mail accounts are taken over for a fraudulent purpose.
There are several different types of frauds that can be committed once an e-mail account has been taken over. For example, the fraudster can send out an e-mail to all of the "Contacts" on an individual's account, pleading for money, citing a personal emergency.
Persons who have had their e-mail accounts taken over are also vulnerable to identity theft. An identity theft victim can be exposed to a number of frauds, all done in their name. These types of frauds include, but are not limited to, mortgage fraud, credit card fraud and other banking frauds.
If you can no longer access your e-mail account, you should report it immediately to your e-mail provider. If you are experiencing difficulties contacting your e-mail provider, assistance can be found by searching under your e-mail provider and the word "abuse" on your preferred internet search engine.
Here are some tips to prevent e-mail take-over:
-Change your password often and do not use obvious passwords.
-If you buy or sell on the internet, set up a separate e-mail address for that purpose and do not include "Contacts" in this e-mail account.
-Don't open e-mails or go to any on-line links sent to you by someone you don't know. They may be hackers attempting to take over your e-mail account.