I get at least 2-3 calls and/or emails a week from people asking what to do when their email accounts get hacked. They are usually tipped off when they see suspicious emails being sent from their account or when one of their contacts gets a suspicious email from the account that was compromised.
In my personal experience Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL accounts are usually targeted due to the inferior security that is on those providers systems. Yahoo has had multiple security breaches that were not only covered up but then were improperly communicated to it’s users. That being said if you use Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL you should really think about moving to another service.
My personal favorite for a free email service is Google’s Gmail. You can sign up at Mail.Google.com. Once you sign up make sure you use a secure password (10+ characters, numbers, Aa letters, and a few symbols). Once you do this you can begin the switch over from your provider. I have provided directions for Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL to forward your email from these providers to your Gmail account. I would also setup a vacation responded (permanently) so that when contacts email your old account they will receive an automated reply letting them know to use your new Gmail address.
Once you have the email migrated to the Gmail account you will need to setup what is called 2 Factor Authentication. This will make it so you either need a SMS (Text) code sent to a mobile number to login OR you can use the Google Authenticator application to generate a code. Sign in to your Google account and follow the directions below to see how to setup the 2 Factor Authentication.
Turn on 2-Step Verification
When you enable 2-Step Verification (also known as two-factor authentication), you add an extra layer of security to your account. You sign in with something you know (your password) and something you have (a code sent to your phone).
Set up 2-Step Verification
- Go to the 2-Step Verification page. You might have to sign in to your Google Account.
- In the “2-Step Verification” box on the right, select Start setup.
- Follow the step-by-step setup process.
Once you’re finished, you’ll be taken to the 2-Step Verification settings page. Review your settings and add backup phone numbers. The next time you sign in, you’ll receive a text message with a verification code. You also have the option of using a Security Key for 2-Step Verification.
Note: To ensure that you can access your account in the future, add an email recovery option as well. Source: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839?hl=en
Forwarding Yahoo Email (Source)
Turn on Mail Forwarding
- Mouse over the Settings menu icon | select Settings.
- Click Accounts.
- Click the primary Yahoo account.
- Go down and select Forward.
- Enter the forwarding address.
- Select Store and forward or Store and forward and mark as read.
- Click Verify.
– A verification email will be sent to that email address.
- Click Save.
Verify your forwarding address.
You must verify your account before forwarding will work.
- Access the email account you’re forwarding to.
- Open the verification email we sent.
- Follow the email’s instructions to verify your account.
Forwarding Hotmail Email (Source)
If you recently moved from Outlook.com — the new name of Microsoft’s Hotmail service — to Gmail, you can automatically receive mail sent to your old Outlook.com address in Gmail by setting up mail forwarding. Alternatively, enabling POP3 in Outlook.com lets you import both new and existing emails from your old account into Gmail.
Forwarding NEW Emails
- Log in to your Outlook.com account, click the **cog** icon and select **Options** from the menu.
- Click the **Email forwarding** link under **Managing your account.**
- Select **Select forward your email to another email account** and enter your Gmail address in the text field. Save your new settings.
Migrating New and Existing Emails
- Open the Outlook.com Options page by clicking the **cog** icon and selecting **Options.** Under **Managing your account,** select **Connect devices and apps with POP.**
- Select **Enable** and click **Save.**
- Log in to Gmail, open the **cog** menu and click **Settings.**
- Open the **Forwarding and POP/IMAP** tab and select **Add a POP3 mail account you own.**
- Enter your Outlook.com email address in the text field and click **Next Step.**
- Enter your Outlook.com email address and password in the **Username** and **Password** fields and click **Add Account** to save your new POP3 account.Optionally, enable **Leave a copy of retrieved message on the server** before saving your new account if you do not want Gmail to automatically delete emails from your Outlook.com account after importing them.
Tips and Warnings
- If you enable mail forwarding in Outlook.com, you still need to log in to your account at least once a year to prevent Microsoft from closing your account.
- By using POP3, you can import messages from up to five email accounts in Gmail.
Forwarding AOL Email (Source)
Gmail has two methods for forwarding messages from AOL, which you can use either to consolidate your email or to move away from AOL entirely. Importing your mail works best when closing an AOL account, as it imports your entire mailbox and contacts, and forwards new messages for a month. Adding your AOL account to Gmail, on the other hand, sends all new AOL emails to your Gmail inbox.
Importing AOL Email
Importing your mail copies your old AOL mailbox to Gmail so you can close your AOL account without losing any emails. This method forwards new incoming messages only for the following 30 days, however, making it a poor choice if you plan to keep using AOL. To start an import, click the gear icon on Gmail, click “Settings,” “Accounts and Import” and then “Import Mail and Contacts.” Enter your AOL email address and password, select which items to import — Gmail has three separate check boxes to import contacts, existing messages and new mail for 30 days — and click “Start Import.”
Checking AOL Email
To read new AOL emails on Gmail, click “Add a POP3 Mail Account You Own” in Gmail’s “Accounts and Import” settings. Unlike importing mail, this method forwards your messages indefinitely. Enter your AOL email address, click “Next Step” and fill in your AOL username and password — use your email address, including “@aol.com,” for the username. Check “Label Incoming Messages” to tag emails sent to your AOL address and help separate them from Gmail messages. Before pressing “Add Account,” check “Leave a Copy…” if you want your AOL emails to appear both on Gmail and on the AOL website or AOL Desktop.