If you suspect that one or several of your online accounts has been hacked, don't panic! Follow these steps below.

1) Change your password

The two most commonly sought pieces of information by hackers are your email address and password. Since most people use the same two details across myriad websites, the same two lines of text can unlock several different accounts. If you change your password, the value of your email address is significantly lessened. Make sure you use unique passwords for each account and make them complex with numbers, letters and special characters. Use two-step verification where available.

2) Reclaim your accounts

Every major online service offers a means to recover your account once it has been compromised. To ensure the protection of your personal data, you should follow this process for every account that’s related to a hacked email address or password.

3) Notify your friends you’ve been hacked

If your friends or family have ever been hacked, you’ll have likely discovered this via a poorly written mass email featuring a phishing link. To keep your friends and family safe, email everyone in your contact list to let them know you’ve been hacked.

4) Keep an eye on your bank account

In the worst case scenario, a hacker will use your email address and password to access the credit card details of those accounts they’re linked to. Any purchases will show up on your bank statements, so be sure to notify the relevant parties if anything suspicious does turn up.

5) Scan your computer for malware

Assuming your email has been breached, it’s safe to assume your computer might be infected with malware too. To eradicate this problem, use your pre-installed software or a free alternative. This should also pick up any keystroke software installed on your computer to discern any extra passwords you may use. There is plenty of information on www.getsafeonline.org to help protect your computer.

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