Hotmail used to be a standalone email service until it merged with Microsoft’s Outlook years ago. Millions of Hotmail accounts have been compromised over the years. Most users were locked out of their accounts, and if that happened to you, the implications could be severe. We will explain what to do if you get locked out of your Hotmail account and how to regain control of your emails.
Change Your Password
The easiest way to regain control of a hacked Hotmail account is to change the password. However, you have to log in first before you can make changes. Hackers often leave the credentials as they are, so they can stay undetected by the user. If you have seen some suspicious activities on your email, the first thing you should do is change the password. Here’s how you can do that:
- Log in to your Hotmail account. If you’re still able to log in, change the password right away.
- Click on the gear icon to get to the settings page. It is located to the right of your account name.
- Select “More Mail Settings” from the available options. Scroll past the color swatches, and you will see it.
- Select “Account Details” and access the language menu.
- Hit “Change Password” located under “Password and security info.”
- Enter your existing password and your new password in the text fields that pop-up. Hit Save. The new password has to be entered two times to make sure that there are no typos. The minimum character length of any password is 8 characters. Make sure that your new password has a few capital letters, numbers, and symbols to make it extra safe.
- Log in again using your new credentials and verify the changes you’ve made.
NOTE: Microsoft is well-aware of the Hotmail security issues, which is why you can set it to prompt you to change your password every 72 days. That could help prevent any future attacks.
How to Regain Access to Your Account
Microsoft has a built-in feature that locks suspicious accounts automatically. You might be unaware that someone is using your email, but if Microsoft detects something unusual, your account will be locked temporarily. If that happens to you, here is what you should do:
- Go to the Microsoft Account login page.
- Select “Forgot my password” located below the username and password text boxes.
- When the options on the password recovery page appear, select the one that says, “I think someone else is using my Microsoft Account.” Hit “Next,” and you will go to the account recovery page.
- Enter the email address you suspect got hacked.
- Complete the captcha process by entering the characters from the captcha image into the text field to continue.
- Select the method you want to use to recover your email and click “Next.” You can either select a backup email or the phone number you previously tied to your account. The service will send you an email or message with a code you have to enter into the form that pops-up. Reset your password, and you are good to go. If you don’t have a backup set up, select “Recover your Microsoft Account page” and proceed to the next step.
- Enter the email address on the “Recover your Microsoft Account” page and hit “Next.” It has to be your active alternative email address. Again, you will have to enter the code sent by Microsoft. You can create a new account if you don’t have an alternative email. When you enter the code, hit “Verify” and complete the process to prove that you are the original owner of the account.
- Enter accurate information to complete the process and hit “Submit.” The submission can take up to 24 hours to complete. If you provided accurate information, you will get a link to reset your account password. If not, you will get an error message telling you that the information you provided was insufficient or invalid.
Go the Extra Mile and Stay Safe
Safety should be one of your priorities when sending and receiving emails. That goes double if you use the mail in question to conduct business or make online purchases. If your email gets hacked, you could run into severe problems with your credit card numbers or other sensitive information.
Prevent that from ever happening with a strong password that includes symbols, numbers, and capital letters. Make sure you enter an alternative email address you can use in case your original account gets hacked. Do whatever you can to make sure that your information stays private.