3 Ways to Check if Your Gmail Account Has Been Hacked

Gmail is one of the most popular and most widely used free available email service.

But is also frequently targeted by hackers. Much of the time, users might not even realize that their Gmail account has been hacked.

There are some actions which a hacker can take that will allow him/her to be able to read your email without logging into your Gmail account.

These include using Gmail for mobile, the IMAP feature, email forwarding, and so on. While Gmail’s “last account activity” feature can be helpful, there are also other 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.

When working online, the first thing we need to be aware of is security.

I was talking to a friend who is a self-proclaimed “hacker”, and I found our conversation to be very interesting. Of particular interest to me was when he was telling me about “social engineering” and how easily he can hack a Gmail or Facebook account. (One of the easiest methods used by my hacker friend involves Gmail fake pages.)

Fortunately, he also mentioned that it is easy to find out if your Gmail account has been hacked without using any 3rd party tools.

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 or not your Gmail account is being hacked. This will teach you how to protect your Gmail accounts in the future.  Let’s have a look:

3 Ways of 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 last accessed. It shows the last 10 logins along with the current login.

So the first thing you should do 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 this “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.

You can go to the forwarding 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. This means that a hacker will also be receiving your 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/her 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. If you are not using 2-factor authentication yet, start using it from now on. This one feature will make your Gmail account 200% secure.

It’s not a bad idea to be paranoid about your online security as you can never be too confident about your preventative 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, make sure you read reviews and feedback from online communities prior to doing so. Read this guide to learn more about it.

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 LinkedIn.

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

44 thoughts on “3 Ways to Check if Your Gmail Account Has Been Hacked”

  1. Hi Harsh,
    I think I need your help..
    Yesterday as I opened the email app on my iPhone to check my emails, I received all the new mails and all the old incoming and flagged mails ( data from the last two years) just disappeared on all my devices. The interesting thing is that I still have draft, trash and sent mails.
    I already changed my password and checked the last 10 logins but they were all from me and it was after the time when that happened, so it didn’t help in my case.
    Do you have any idea what made all that happen, is all that look like hacking activity???
    And is it there a way to bring back all my data in case it’s not a hacker activity and just a glitch??

  2. Thanks for the above. I use a Macbook on El Capitan. Last weekend I was hacked with a very plausible-looking Twitter virus while using Safari. After many hours of working on password changes, I brought things back to normal, first by relying on Google Chrome rather than Safari to make the changes
    However around the same time, a little red envelope sign appeared as a permanent fixture on the Safari active tabs site on the window. And it won’t go away. I notice that gmail on it does not behave in quite the same way as Gmail on Chrome. For example on Chrome I have normal recall of old messages, on the little red envelope on Safari window, they don’t come up. But they do come up if I open a new Safari tab alongside it and enter gmail that way. Its just the permanent little red envelope window which behaves different.

    What is going on and is there anything I should be doing?
    Thanks for your assistance.

  3. Thank you Harsh for the tips, now I feel more comfortable because I can see the latest activities of my account.

  4. Harsh, I have a question… I went to the library the other day and was there for several hours, using the library’s online internet connection. When I got home I saw that one of my programs I regularly use (sidekick by hubspot) had been disabled. This seemed very unusual to me. I also think there may have been a popup of some sort while I was online. I know nothing about hacking and am wondering, can someone just start browsing around in my gmail accounts while I am online? Clearly I don’t understand how it all works. Would I have to see a mouse moving or can it all be done from “behind the scenes”? I know I must sound incredibly naive. My guess is the answer is something I don’t want to hear but I suppose I am in denial that people are honest and would leave my computer alone, when I live in the middle of silicon valley and it’s probably not real hard for them to break in. Your advice is much appreciated.

  5. Anita Anderson

    This is more of a question than a comment… what I need to know is how to know if someone could be accessing my accounts on a stolen smart phone… the acct is no longer active but for a while I used it as my Internet access to check my email so I’m concerned that all they have to do is get online with that device and then be able to see all my incoming/outgoing mail since I had it set up to auto sync… how can I turn off that feature on a phone not in my possession? Any advice on this will be appreciated. ..

    1. Hm there is no gurantee these methods would work but I have seen them being suggested previously:
      1. Go to the Recently Used Devices tab of your account and click on the icon of the device you lost, click the red ‘Remove’ button to take away access to your email.
      2. Change your email password. This may prompt logging again with the new password if someone does try to access it.

      It would be good to look at various online forums which have suggestions for your issue.

  6. Rahul Nangia

    Hi, I have added 2 step verification and registrated my home computer so i dont need verification codes on 5th feb but when i opened up my gmail account setting today it was showing that i registered my computer on 8th Mar. Does it mean that my account is hacked?

  7. I tried to sign into my g-mail account and it said my password was invalid. It also said 2 step verification had been turned on. I didn’t do this 2 step. I have submitted an account recovery form to g-mail every day and get a form email back saying they still can’t verify that I own the account, so they can’t return it to me!!. I have had this account since 2008. I don’t remember my email recovery address it’s been so long. I don’t know how else to get google to return this to me.

    1. Clementine Pellegrino

      Absolutely the same for me, word for word! It’s really crap that they say they can’t guarantee the account is not ours. Of course it is, why else would you ask Google to step in!

  8. I am in the same boat. I have changed my gmail password and currently have no mail forwarding. However, for some reason someone out there can sign up to different services such as instagram, twitter etc. with my email. I have no idea how they access my gmail to confirm the email address. Also in the “last activity” I do not observe any suspicious activity. Kinna spooky. Do not know how to solve it yet.

  9. If email account has been hacked, can my computer be hacked by only logging into it and changing its password? Or will the hackers only get the computers IP address and other computer information but not be able to hack computer and what can they do with that information?

  10. Sujena shrestha

    I think my account is being hacked. There was a recovery email belonging to someone else and he had also changed recovery number. How to know who is that person using my acc.?

  11. I just did a factory reset on my phone last night and when I tried signing into my Google account it wouldn’t let me. It kept saying I had to use an email that was recently synced to my account. The email it has saved is something one that I don’t have a clue who it is. Please help me get my phone back on.

  12. @Harsh,
    Today I received an email from Google (with the Google key icon) saying “Someone has your password” because Google detected an attempted login from an unusual device. I looked at the Latest Activity as you suggested and I see 3 items listed as POP3 Access between the hours of 5am and 9am (before I ever even got to any of my devices.)

    The weird part is, in the IP address column for those POP3 Access, I don’t see a regular ip address, they all have something like this in the IP address column: 2607:f8b0:400d:c09:0:0:0:21c

    Any idea what that is?

    There are other items in the list that show my login activity, with a normal ip address.

  13. Hi! I’m really wondering if my Gmail account has been hacked, I saw three weird history of logging in. I don’t live in Indonesia but it was logged in from there three times. IP address is also strange it says 2606:f180:0:466:466:a0fa:e135:eb96.?? Is there anyway I can report this to Gmail? I decided to closed my account since it looks like there’s someone trying to play with my emails, actually I lost a couple of emails which I don’t think I deleted. Can you please indicate me how I can report it or find out who did it?
    Thanks!

  14. Mike Tarquini

    Hi Harsh-

    The situation with FB and hacked G mail accounts gets more foreboding daily.

    I wonder how much longer, or for that matter, how ever-more pressing a concern FB will become in the following years. With the global threat of home based terror and clandestine behavior worldwide; at some point I believe our government will have to take action by controlling the Internet. Fbook has become nothing but a breeding ground for stalking people, abduction, suicide, crime, burglary, and terror.

    Will there ever be a customer support line. And could FB ever offer a paid membership for customers who demand and expect decent service?

    I have an issue with Gmail and it has been an ongoing problem since 2004. I have tried rectifying the situation but I cannot satisfy the EXTREME RIGOROUS methods imposed by google to recover a password so I can effectively delete superfluous g mail accounts.

    Please get back to me if at all possible. I no longer use FB and I feel bad for the younger generations that have no choice but to inherit today’s technological, dastardly, prowess which thrives on lack of informative knowledge.

    Sincerely,
    Mike Tarquini

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