I have had people tell me they have been receiving spam e-mail from me. I have changed the password for my account and the spam is still being sent from my account. Do you have any ideas as far as what might be causing this?
The two most likely possibilities are your e-mail account has been compromised or you are simply the victim of the age-old “spoofing” tactic that’s been around since the early e-mail days.
If you are able to change your password, that confirms your account hasn’t been taken over, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t compromised at some point in the past.
When you get locked out of your own account, you’ll know someone is engaging in some nefarious activities with your account.
If you’re hearing from a large number of people about the same spam message, your computer might have been compromised at some point, or you could still be infected with a silent malware program.
The first thing to do is change your e-mail password from a completely different computer just in case your computer is infected, or the malware tracking program will know what your new password is as well.
The second thing to do is have your computer scanned by a security program that isn’t already installed on your computer, as it could also be compromised.
If scammers can trick you or anyone that uses your computer (like children) into clicking on malicious links or inadvertently installing a program that allows them to overtake your computer, your security program will be the first thing they go after.
Another way they can gain access to your e-mail account is if you access your account from another computer that has been compromised, or has a tracking program running silently in the background, which is why it’s never a good idea to access your e-mail from a public terminal.
To properly check your computer, you really need to get “a second opinion” from a completely different program that could not have been compromised in an attack.
Microsoft Safety Scanner can be used as an on-demand scanner if you suspect you are infected.
In our service centers, we take an additional step by booting to a special CD/DVD or flash drive, so any potential malware can’t activate from an infected hard drive.
If the problem is bad enough, you may want to consider getting a new e-mail address and notifying your friends so they can block your old address.