What Can You Do If Your GMail or Google Account is Hacked?

24 Mar

Some lessons learnt from my experience of dealing with a hacked account! What to do to retrieve your GMail / Email account and what to do thereafter to protect your account.

Early this morning, my GMail account was hacked into. I checked my mails as usual around 8am and then had to head straight for a meeting. During the meeting, around 10.30 I get a call from someone who I havent heard from in the past 4 years (but have the number of, nonetheless). I dont pick up. In the next 30 minutes, I get 47 missed calls! My first reaction – there has been a bomb blast and people are just checking!

Well, my GMail account had been hacked. The hacker had sent out an email to several of my contacts, with the following message

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes,my fam and I came down here to London,England for a short vacation unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed,all cash,credit card and cell were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

We’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in less than 3hrs from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills.

Am freaked out at the moment.

– – – – –

It honestly was a shock, since I am extremely cautious when it comes to my emails. And my password is also quite weird for someone to just guess. But it still happened and I have no clue how! But I managed to come out of it…and here is how.

How To Recover Your Hacked GMail Account?

1. As a first step, inform your known ones that your account has been hacked, so any mails from your address should not be acted upon. This is best done from social sites such as Facebook or Twitter. I sent out a mail to the ISB Alumni and called everyone back who call I had missed!

2. Fill up the recovery form on Google. This is the fastest (and usually surest) way of getting your account back. However, this requires you to remember stuff like when you started using GMail, the top addresses that you send emails to, names of labels in your account, who sent you the invite for GMail, which address was it sent to etc etc.

They usually respond in 3-4 hours and if they dont, then send it once again. But not more than that. They will come back.

How To Protect Your GMail Account From Hacking?

1. If you havent done it already, have a secondary account tied to your GMail. The hacker in my case was smart and had changed even that, so I couldnt retrieve my password. But mostly this works fine. Ofcourse, dont use the same password for both the accounts!

2. Its a good idea to keep an eye on the IP session information right on the bottom of your GMail page. Clicking on details will give you information of the last 5 sessions and it will be pretty obvious if your account is being used someplace else too. Best in this segment is the “Close all other sessions” which will sign all other users out, except your current session. If you have any concerns of safety, change your password right then.

3. Google also allows you to setup your mobile as one of the password retrieving mechanisms. Depending on how careless, or careful you are as an individual, exercise this option. If you are the ones who lose their mobiles every 3rd month, might not be the best bet!

– – – – –

Phew! Its a relief that I have my account back..safe and sound. Not to mention that this entire day was a mini-reunion with people whom I hadnt reached out to months or even years! Its scary how much something like an email has become a part of you…!

9 Responses to What Can You Do If Your GMail or Google Account is Hacked?



March 25th, 2010 at 8:19 am

That was scary! I responded to the email and got a reply back. And this was more than 1 hour after receiving the initial email!

Glad that you got your account back… Also, hoping that no one actually sent any money!


Ankur Warikoo

March 25th, 2010 at 10:36 am

No one thankfully did…! Smart bunch of people around me…! :)


Gmail Password Hack

June 10th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Great post, I totally agree with this.



August 31st, 2010 at 12:58 am

Hi Ankur!! I had the same problem on Friday with the same email sent to all my contacts… Now I have my email back, but without emails and it seems that I can not send/receive yet. So it does not look very great for me :-)
I hope it will be better in the next days.



November 22nd, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Its old news now but I responded to the mail too. In fact I also called the number and then got curious. Fortunately meetings kept me away from sending any money!!


saurabh singh

January 15th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

my gmail account is hacked. how to open my account.



April 13th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I was hacked today and it’s taken me all day to sort it out and set up all new accounts for everything and cancel all my credit cards etc. as over the 6+ years that i’ve had my account who knows what info i’ve sent to people.

When you get your a/c back you will likely find that you can’t receive mail as it’s been diverted to the scammer’s address. You have to go into settings and then accounts and forwarding to remove their address from forwarding.

If you can it’s always safer after being hacked to not just change your password and carry on but to set up a new account with different name, different password, different security question etc. and just let your friends know. You can still access your old a/c for the time being but don’t link it with the new one.



August 30th, 2011 at 8:40 pm

here is copy my email was hacked and miss use

‘m really sorry for this emergency and for not informing you about my urgent trip to Spain but I just have let you you my present predicament. Though everything was fine until I was attacked on my way back to the hotel. I wasn’t hurt but I lost my money, bank cards, mobile phone and my bag in the course of this attack. I have immediately contacted my bank in other to block my cards and also made a report at the nearest police station.

Meanwhile, I have also thought it expedient for me to confide this in you and I will be glad to have it confidential between us. I’m physically ok and fine but I’m urgently in need of some money to complete my major aim of being here and to balance my bills till my departure next weekend. Can you please lend me a sum of 2500euros [approximately $3400 us dollars] or any amount you can afford to lend out? I will refund you even with interest upon my arrival next weekend.

Kindly let me know if you would be able to help me out with the money or any amount you can afford, I can then forward you the details require for a wire transfer via the western union money transfer service. I don’t yet have a local phone (still gathering my bearings and such), so email is probably the best form of contact for now. I will expect your response soon.

Thanks & Best Regards,




August 30th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

i would be very greatful
if some somebody can help me how to stop my mail account or recover mail again

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