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What to do if your email account is hijacked and used to send spam

Why am I getting so much spam?

Spam bounceback redacted

QUESTION TalkTalk had problems with its email system on the week preceding 2nd June.  On 2nd June I received some 2000+ spam emails from a company in the USA who I have never ever contacted before.

I have contacted TalkTalk three times about this and the only solution/explanation given is to change my password. I always run Norton on my PC and have protection on my router.

I’ve enclosed a sample spam email and an email from TalkTalk about the problem. You will note that the owner of the company spamming me has the same name as me.  I feel that there must be a connection here.

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HELPROOM ANSWER Having looked at your sample email I can see that the spam messages are actually originating from your account and are being sent in your name. This suggests that your account has been hijacked in order to send out spam messages. The hijackers are using your name in the emails to make them seem more legitimate by using a name which matches your email address.

The “spam” messages you’re receiving are in fact error messages telling you when one of these rogue emails has failed to reach its intended victim. The mail system is then bouncing these messages back to you and they’re filling up your inbox.

In this case TalkTalk is quite right in telling you to change your password immediately.

Although this sort of problem is often the result of viruses and Trojans, which your antivirus software should pick up, there are other ways in which unscrupulous

individuals can steal password information from you. These include tricking you into clicking on bogus links on Web pages and in emails.

The sample email you have sent us contains just such a link, along with the instruction to “login with your email to check out available properties”. This is clearly an attempt to trick people into divulging their email account details and passwords.

So, please do change your email password right away. We would also suggest checking your PC with another anti malware product, such as the free Malwarebytes, to make sure there’s nothing evil residing on your PC which Norton has missed.

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