Have you ever logged on to your e-mail account and discovered someone else was sending e-mails in your name. Then your e-mail was probably hacked.
But there are things you can do to help reduce your chances of being a victim.
Earlier this week Chrystal Damian noticed something wasn't right with her personal e-mail account. “I noticed there was an e-mail. It looked like from my Yahoo! to my work email. So I opened it up and there was a list of contacts that it had also e-mailed,” Damian said.
Some of those contacts were people she hadn't been in contact with for years.
“Former school mates. Former instructors. Doctors that I've emailed. And random people. And I thought oh, this isn't good,” she said.
The first thing she did was change her password. Then sent out an apology e-mail to everyone explaining that she had been hacked.
She isn't alone. Just in the past few days, dozens of bogus e-mails from hacked e-mail accounts have shown up in the Sixonline inbox at Channel 6. Most of them were from Yahoo! e-mail accounts.
Computer expert Steven Nickerson suggests keeping two separate e-mail accounts. One main account, and then another account to use for online shopping and other commercial web sites.
“Everybody wants an e-mail address,” Nickerson said. “You have to validate it to be able to log into it. So if you give them a junk e-mail address you could go back in, validate it, get into that account. But it doesn't affect your [main] e-mail because you keep it separate.”
Damian has learned a lesson in online security.
“I really have to rethink how I do things and security,” she said. “Maybe change my password every couple of weeks or something.”
Nickerson also says to make sure you use a different username and password for each online account.
Channel 6 contacted Yahoo! about the hacked e-mail accounts. A Yahoo! spokesperson offered this statement:
"We take data protection very seriously and are currently investigating reports that some Yahoo! Mail accounts may have been compromised. As part of our normal account security processes, if we detect suspicious activity we act to secure the account and prompt users to change their passwords. In general, we strongly recommend that our users change their passwords regularly, use strong passwords that combine uppercase/lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and that they use unique passwords for different online sites."