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Losing access to a digital account, whether it be your email, a social network, or your online bank, may be upsetting. So how do you get them back? We'll explore what options are available to regain access or minimise the damage. 

Discovering a hacked account

The signs your account has been hacked will vary, depending on the reasons your account was compromised in the first place. Whilst you may think that you are locked out of your account the moment your account has been compromised, this may not be the case, other things that may indicate you've been hacked include: 

  • changes to your security settings
  • messages or notifications sent from your account that you don't recognise
  • logins or attempted logins from strange locations or at unusual times
  • unauthorised money transfers or purchases from your online accounts

Whilst it may be worrying that you're locked out of your account, it could be far more damaging to have someone go undetected, spying on your communications and activities, it's therefore important to take the following steps to recover you account. 

1. Contact your account provider

Go to the account provider's website and search their help or support pages. These will explain the account recovery process.

2. Check your email account

Check your email filters and forwarding rules. Cyber criminals often create forwarding rule, which means that they will automatically be sent a copy of all emails sent to your account (which would allow them to reset your passwords).

3. Change passwords

  • Change the password for any account that has been hacked
  • Change the password for any accounts that are using the same or a similar password

4. Log all devices and apps out of your account

After changing passwords, make sure that any devices and apps are logged out of the relevant account. This can usually be done from the Settings menus of the app or website (or it may be part of the Privacy or Account options).

5. Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Many online accounts and services allow you to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA), which means that even if a criminal knows your password, they won't be able to access your accounts. MFA usually works by sending you a PIN or code, often sent by SMS or email.

6. Update your devices

You should apply updates to your apps and your device's software as soon as they are available:

  • Applying these updates is one of the most important (and quickest) things you can do to prevent your account from being hacked.
  • You should also turn on 'automatic updates' in your device's settings, if available. 

7. Notify your contacts

Get in touch with your account contacts, friends or followers. Let them know that you were hacked, and that any recent messages would not have been sent by you. This will help them to avoid being hacked themselves.

8.Check your bank statements and online shopping accounts

Often a hacked email account can lead to compromises elsewhere. Keep a look-out for unknown transactions. Telephone your bank directly for further support. Always use official websites or social media channels, or type the address directly into your browser. Don't use the links in any messages you have been sent.

9. Report hacking

If you've lost money, tell your bank and report it to the Cyber Security Centre using the online form.  The form allows you to send a copy to the Isle of Man Police.


If you've lost access to an account and still can't get it back, you may be tempted by a recovery service. These are scams. Read our article here: 


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