The biggest scare these days, your Gmail Account Hacked ?

How to Protect your Gmail & Google Accounts

These days most of us have a lot of information that is posted online and the vast google empire has made us like their services so much that like me, a lot of people have all their digital information pegged back into their Google / Gmail account. It is quite possible that many of us use the same password over various services as well such that you can remember your stuff easily.

Unfortunately since Google is the center of your digital world, loosing your password or if someone gets in to your account, you will have to retrieve it which is the difficult bit. So, here are some steps that you can take to protect and safeguard your account. And its required to be done …..

Google Logo courtesy of Google.com

#1. Log-in to your Gmail / Google Account and associate a phone number. You’ll then receive an SMS text message whenever someone tries to recover your Google password.

#2. Create a new email address (on say Yahoo! Mail or Gmail itself) and set this as the secondary email address for your existing Gmail and Google Accounts. Check for emails on this new account manually or through a desktop client via POP3 / IMAP butdo not enable auto-forward for the new email address as the original purpose will be defeated.

#3. Take a paper and write down the following information about your Google Account. You will need this to verify your identify to Google in case someone else takes over your Google Account and the secondary email address associated with your account.

  • The month and year when your created your Gmail / Google Account. You can look at the last page of your Gmail Inbox (or go to Sent Items) to get an approximate idea of the date when you created the account.
  • If you created a Gmail account by invitation, write the email address of the person who first sent you that invite for Gmail. Use a search query like “in:all has invited you to open a free Gmail account” to find that invitation email.
  • The email addresses of your most frequently emailed contacts (the top 5).
  • The names of any custom labels that you may have created in your Gmail account.
  • The day/month/year when you started using various other Google services (like AdSense, Orkut, Blogger, etc.) that are associated with the Google account that you are trying to recover. If you’re not certain about some of the dates, provide your closest estimate*.

[*] For Analytics, look at the first date when it started collecting stats for your website(s). For Orkut, look at the last page of your scrapbook. For AdSense, you may take the help of your AdSense account manager.

#4. Do a test run. Log-out of all your Gmail / Google Accounts and initiate the password recovery process for each one of them using this form. This will help you make sure that your SMS settings and secondary email addresses are configured correctly.

#5. Once in a while, do refer to that little line in the footer section of your Gmail Inbox that shows the different IP addresses from where your account is being accessed. If you find an unknown IP address, change your Google password immediately.

Occasionally checking your Gmail activity log will let you know if there is any unauthorized entry into your Gmail / google account.

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