So needless to say, I learned a lot throughout this process. I thought I’d share so tips on how to avoid this happening to you:
1. Have both a primary email address and at least two back up email addresses.
2. Make sure you log in to the settings page of your email account to enter a back up email address. (Then SAVE it — make sure you do this as well as “Verify” the accounts via your back up email address).
Here’s how I have mine set up now:
Primary email address — uses secondary email address as a backup.
Secondary email address — uses a third email address as backup.
Third email address — uses primary email address as backup.
3. Enter in your cell phone number into your settings page. That way if/when any changes are made (legit or illegit), you will be notified, both via text and via backup emails. (and don’t forget to SAVE! & verify the phone number with a confirmation code).
4. Make sure you change your email passwords often. & make sure each of your email accounts has a unique password.
Some other helpful tips:
– Try not to keep your inbox full of items that might give away person information (ie. credit card bills, passwords, documents, online banking information, personal information). Back all of it up on an external hard drive. Imagine if this person did a little more research and found out that I planned on vacationing in Maine. If they had said I was stuck in Maine, chances are most would have believed it.
– Is your credit card information stored on google shopping? If so, imagine the damage that could be done if someone hacks your email. If your email is hacked, your EVERYTHING is hacked. Don’t rely on google for everything. What do I mean? Well, attached to my email are: my blog, my photo albums, my feed subscriptions (via google reader), my personal calendar, google documents (where a lot of my budgeting spreadsheets are), and my YouTube videos.
They had access to everything. Everything could have been gone. Luckily it wasn’t. But what an eye opener.
Please don’t let the same happen to you! Take steps to combat this! I think we all take for granted the fact that this place we know & love can be a pretty scary place.