Scammers are everywhere and they are thinking up ingenious new ways of trying to extract money from regular honest people. The newest in scam-world is the use of Gmail accounts. Some scammers are hijacking other people’s accounts, impersonating the account holder and emailing all the account holder’s contacts with a request for money. Allegedly, the friend who is the true account holder is in a bind overseas, and really needs to be rescued with a few hundred dollars. Of course, your real friend had no idea this is happening!
There are many ways your Gmail account can become compromised, for example you could forget to sign out on a public computer (e.g. Internet cafe), or you could be using a public computer that has key-logging software installed.
How to Monitor Account Activity
Google has recently released a new feature that will help you monitor your account activity and prevent scammers from abusing your Gmail account.
- A first step to protecting your Gmail account is checking whether you are still logged in at another location. At the bottom of your Gmail inbox page you can see information about your last login, and whether you are still logged in on another computer. You can also log out remotely.
- As a new feature, Gmail tries to keep track of your account activity and it is looks like something unusual is going on, you will see warning message saying, “Warning: We believe your account was last accessed from…” along with the geographic region that we can best associate with the access.
The parameters that cause the warning message to appear are for example when your account is being accessed from two different countries within just a few hours from each other.
- You can click on “Details” next to the message to see the last account activity window, showing the access points from which the account was accessed most recently.
- You can change your password in the same window if you think that your account might have been compromised. Alternatively, you can click “Dismiss” to remove the message if you have been traveling or you gave someone else access to your account and are pretty sure your Gmail wasn’t accessed by a stranger.
How do you feel about this new feature? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!