3 Ways to Check if Your Gmail Account Has Been Hacked

Gmail is one of the most popular and most widely used free email clients,and is frequently targeted by hackers. Most of the time users won’t even realize that their Gmail account has been hacked.

There are some actions which a hacker can take that will allow him to be able to read your email without logging into your Gmail account. These include using Gmail for mobile, IMAP feature, email forwarding, and so on. While Gmail’s “last account activity” feature can be helpful, there are better methods of looking into the safety of your Gmail account and keeping it protected.  In today’s post we will look at some of the easiest ways to find out if your Gmail account  has been hacked or compromised.  These tips will be useful to all Gmail users including those without any current problems, as it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your email accounts and to know how to monitor unusual activities.

We all know that security is the first thing we need to tend to when working online. I was talking to a friend who is a self- proclaimed “hacker”, and I found our conversation to be most interesting, particularly regarding social engineering and how easily he hacks a Gmail or Facebook account. Fortunately, he also mentioned that it is easy to find out if your Gmail account has been hacked without using any 3rd party tools. (One of the easiest methods used by my friend the hacker involves Gmail fake pages.)

While I am not going to go into detail regarding how or why my friend is hacking email addresses, I will be sharing a couple of quick tips which you can use to monitor whether your Gmail account is being hacked, thus teaching you how to protect your own Gmail accounts from a similar fate.  Let’s have a look:

3 features for checking to see if Gmail is being hacked:

Gmail last account activity feature:

Gmail introduced their last account activity feature a long time ago. Last account activity shows the location, IP, method and time when your Gmail was accessed. It shows the last 10 logins, along with the current login.

So — the first thing you should if you are interested in monitoring the activity of your Gmail account, is click on “last account activity” at the bottom of your Gmail account page, and check to see when and where your Gmail account was last accessed. This will give you an idea of whether your Gmail account is being used by someone other than you. You can also log out any other users who may be logging in from another system using the last account activity page.

Email forwarding:

This is another useful feature offered by the Gmail team which allows us to forward any email coming into our Gmail account to any other account. Hackers usually forward all emails to their own accounts, and since this feature is not widely known or used, people rarely realize that someone else is reading their email. So you can go to this page to check to see if your email is being forwarded to any other email address.

POP and IMAP settings for Gmail:

IMAP and POP features will allow you to access your email on any 3rd party client using any of these two protocols. The issue here is that anyone can configure their email client to receive your email if they get access to your password, meaning that a hacker will also be receiving your important emails.

If you are not using the IMAP or POP feature, it’s better to keep them disabled. Also make sure you follow step one noted above, as you may be able to see some unexpected locations and IP addresses if a hacker has already configured his email client using your Gmail account.

If you ever have concerns that your Gmail account has been hacked, you should change your password immediately, along with your security question, password recovery email, and registered phone number.

It’s not a bad idea to be paranoid about your online security, and you can never be too confident about your preventive measures.  It’s better to keep a close eye on your accounts for any unusual activities, and if you give anyone access to your Gmail account (including 3rd party sites like Rapportive), make sure you read reviews and feedback from online communities prior to doing so.

Also check out: 7 security tips for your Gmail account.

Have you spotted anything unusual suggesting that your Gmail account may have been hacked? Let us know using the comments section below.

If you find the information in this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 23 )

  1. GOOF says

    I use my Samsung Galaxy s3 smart phone to access my google account. My girl friend was using my phone one day and messing around with it. When all of a sudden she is calling me a liar, cheater and leaving me. Come to find out that my name, email and picture is being used to open up profiles on adult chat sites and web cam adult sites as well. With a lil more digging and searching I’ve fond hidden apps on my phone as well as emails that are from a buisness. but when they are opened up come to find out its actually a email from a adult web site or chat sited. I also figured out that my emails are being redirected into another file that i cant access. I explained to my girlfriend that im not doing those things that I’ve been hacked. She doesnt believe me becase she doesnt understand how if I’ve been hacked how it shows everything coming from my phone or on my phone. I am not good with computers and computer knowledge and am finding it hard to explain how that can be done and have this stuff on my phone if it wasnt done on my phone? So my question would be is it possible for someone to hack into your phone download things hide things and that kind of thing an have it all be able to look like its being done from the phone? IF so will these steps help me find out who might be doing it as well as provide enough proof to show my girlfriend and get her to see and understand i wasnt doing those things? Because at moment im only worried about proving to her i havent been lying and cheating and save my relationship! Then of course fix my online problem of having my identity stolen from me. At moment thats what really needs to be done rite now. Am i able to show enough proof this way to prove to my girlfriend that its not me doing these things on my phone?

  2. Steven Padin says

    I have been receiving several emails from a former business partner that keeps insisting that she still receives forwarded emails from my Google Apps email (with my own domain name), but I had searched EVERYWHERE to find any forwarding setting to her email account and I can’t find anything wrong! Can anyone please let me know where to look????

  3. Charlene says

    My gmail was hacked months ago and still, after changing my password several times AND having the 2 step verification code, people are receiving spam coming from my email address and also I’m getting random IP addressed from the US and overseas (latest was India and Denmark). I done scans on my work and home computers but don’t seem to have any malware or viruses. I can’t find any answers. Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I just close my account and start from scratch? I don’t know what to do anymore!!!

  4. Dave says

    Pretty Interesting article, and i do know what it is like to be hacked and to hack! But i was wondering Saying i use a Ipad and iphone to access my emails (via the the standard email app on both of them) the 2 accounts i have which are gmail & hotmail, i do sometimes use a laptop to login via a browser but that is very rare.
    But is there a way of knowing if someone has accessed my emails from another location (if they have my password details!) without going into a web browser and seeing what ip’s have logged onto my account,eespecially gmail when i am using my smart devices??

  5. Lisa says

    I check my gmail account everyday because someone keeps accessing it. It shows different ip addresses AND that I am connected to Firefox and Chrome browsers. I only use my phone to access. I believe this someone (I am pretty sure I know who) has a temporary root on my phone because permissions are changed and apps are on my phone that I cant get to. Possible my phone is cloned. I am so frustrated. I have done factory reset twice nothing changes. I believe its thru google and gmail that (mine) they are connected. I have an old gmail they have hold of that I had before my factory reset. I change my password daily and I have 2 step verification which keeps getting changed back to the first date that I had started the 2 step verification and I have to sign into my account because my imap account is logged out and I need a new code. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Molly says

      Lisa, try taking your iPhone into your local Apple store and ask them to do a factory reset from iTunes, rather than just doing a factory reset on your phone. When you do a reset on your phone, your phone uses its own memory to reinstall/update files. So you aren’t really getting rid of any malicious software.

  6. shoe says

    would a person know if the government accessed your gmail account through reviewing account activities? do you think the government comes in the same manner that the public would to access email content without a warrant? could the government have a backdoor or means to hide their IP address from recent activity?

  7. Jonathon Hemlock says

    I have a 100 character gmail password managed by Lastpass + 2-step authentication on my gmail account. I 1000 times dare someone to hack into my gmail account. Come on buddy, hack my gmail account…ha ha ha ha ha.

  8. Mia Jackson says

    I was hacked earlier today. I realized it when I heard my emails in my MacMail (which is linked to my gmail) going nuts! Found this article and checked the last activity. Sure enough – some random server in Bulgaria was listed! Sucks totally, but at least I heard it right away and started the fix the fixable by changing the password. Thanks for the tips.

  9. Rahul says

    if i chat with someone inside Gmail, can someone actually see what i chatted later if they have access 2 my account?

    • says

      Yes Rahul they can. By default Gmail saves logs of all chats and conversation too.. Though you can disable saving chat history from Gmail settings.

  10. John from Web Design Melbourne says

    Hi Harsh,

    I had faced this issue in past, thanks for sharing this information

    i am not aware of last account activity feature of gmail, really very simple to check – just a single click.

    Thanks for sharing interesting information

  11. Kimi says

    Hi Harsh,

    This is really great tips that I have never been aware of.

    I heard many people got their gmail accounts or another free email accounts hacked, so those are really great tips to prevent bad things happen.

    Eespecially if we store some important datas in our free email accounts.

    Thanks for the reminder.


  12. Harry Sehgal says

    Nice and Safe Tips.
    Email Forwarding is the one thing that you should always check.

  13. Rahul says

  14. Basant says

    Those who care for the security of their Gmail a/c “must” opt for the newly added “2-Step-Verification” from Google. It’s a PIN like verification used by many banks. I am already using it and it works like a charm. Now, I feel 100% secure with my Google a/c :)

  15. Suresh Khanal@SEOMMOTips says

    Hahaa! There were so many features and never realized. Thanks Harsh! Till I read through your post, I never thought if there was any service that tells you where you’d logged in. Most useful!

  16. hamarasathi says

    Hi Harsh, My friends also faced Gmail Hacking, but i am unable to understand, how can hacker access your account when you access mails with your personal computer,
    anyways thanks for above article.Atleast we can get info that our account hacked or not?

  17. Sumon @ Sumon Seleem's Blog says

    Thanks for these useful tips. I think we can avoid being hacked if we remain a bit more conscious. I personally had hacked more than 5 Facebook and Gmail accounts in the past. They all were just careless…