Outlook.com account help

Outlook.com

My account has been hacked

If your account has been compromised (hacked) it means that someone stole your password and might be using your account to access your personal information or send junk email.

How did a hacker get my password?

Hackers use several techniques to get your account password.

  • Malware: If you install a program from the Internet that isn’t from a trusted publisher, it might include malware that logs your keystrokes or searches your PC for saved passwords.

  • Attacking Internet sites: If hackers break into an Internet site and steal account info, they can check it against other sites to see if you've re-used your password.

  • Phishing: Hackers often trick people into sending them their account data.

How can I recover my account?

To recover your account, follow these steps.

1. Clear your PC of viruses or malware before you change your password

Most hackers get your password through malware that's been installed on your PC without your knowledge (for example, when you download a new screen saver, toolbar, or other software from an untrustworthy source.) It’s important to clear your PC of viruses or malware before you change your password. That way, the hackers won’t get your new password.

If you have a good antivirus program installed, make sure it is up-to-date, then do a full scan of your system. If you don’t have an antivirus app installed on your PC, Microsoft offers some free solutions.

  • If you’re running Windows 7, you can download and install Microsoft Security Essentials.

  • If you’re running Windows 8.1, you already have Windows Defender. To turn it on, from the Start screen or Search charm search for "Windows Defender" and tap or click Windows Defender, then follow the instructions on the screen.

Regardless of which antivirus app you install, run a full scan on your PC before you change your password. You should also set up your antivirus app to automatically get updates and to scan your PC on a regular basis.

2. Change or reset your password

After you run the antivirus app, try to sign in to your account and change your password. If you can’t sign in, try to reset your password.

Make sure you create a strong password

Don't

Do

Don't use the same password for different accounts.

Do make the new password significantly different from previous passwords.

Don't recycle passwords.

Do change your password regularly.

Don't use a single word for your password.

Do use a password phrase (no spaces between words) that can’t be easily guessed.

Don't use easy-to-remember personal info like your name, names of family members, your address, or phone number.

Do use an easy-to-remember sentence or phrase converted into a string of initials, numbers, and symbols.

Don't use passwords like "password," "money$$$," or "12345678."

Do use our password checker to test your new password before you use it.

  • Don't

  • Don't use the same password for different accounts.

  • Don't recycle passwords.

  • Don't use a single word for your password.

  • Don't use easy-to-remember personal info like your name, names of family members, your address, or phone number.

  • Don't use passwords like "password," "money$$$," or "12345678."

  • Do

  • Do make the new password significantly different from previous passwords.

  • Do change your password regularly.

  • Do use a password phrase (no spaces between words) that can’t be easily guessed.

  • Do use an easy-to-remember sentence or phrase converted into a string of initials, numbers, and symbols.

  • Do use our password checker to test your new password before you use it.

3. Reset your account settings

Since someone else had access to your account, we've cleared your account settings and removed any send-as addresses, email forwarding, and auto-replies. Here’s how to reset these options.

  1. Click the Options icon Options icon, and then click Options.

  2. Select one or more of the following settings.

    Send/receive accounts: Under Managing your account, click Your email accounts.

    Reply-to address: Under Writing email, click Reply-to address.

    Email forwarding: Under Managing your account, click Email forwarding.

    Auto-reply: Under Managing your account, click Sending automated vacation replies.

  3. Enter the required info and then click Save.

4. Restore deleted email and contacts

As soon as we detect that your account might have been hacked, we start saving your deleted messages in a safe place. In Outlook.com, click the Deleted folder. At the bottom of the window, click recover deleted messages.

Outlook.com will recover as many messages as possible and put them in your Deleted folder. Any messages not recovered are permanently lost.

If contacts have been deleted, you might be able to restore them. See Restore deleted contacts.

Note

  • Email deleted from children's accounts can't be restored. This way, parents can be confident that when they delete messages from their children’s accounts, they stay deleted.

5. Help prevent future hacks

To prevent your account from being hacked in the future, get more info on how to help protect your account.

For more help with keeping safe online, contact customer support.

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