Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Scammers are stealing email accounts and trying to convince your contacts that you're in trouble and need money. I'll look at your options for Hotmail.
Someone, somehow get into my MSN Hotmail accounts (I have 2) and changed my passwords and all the security info, blocking me completely out. Then all the contacts I have in both accounts are being sent scam letters saying it's me and to send $2300 to Lagos, Nigeria. What bothers me the most is having my name used for scamming.
I've tried to contact Hotmail, letting them know what has happened and asking if there is anything that can be done about stopping them and closing the accounts.
Do you have an email address, or phone number, any way to contact them or who to contact. It's so confusing because its MSN, Hotmail, Hotmail MSN.
Actually, it's even more confusing since it started as Hotmail, then MSN Hotmail, and now Windows Live Hotmail.
Unfortunately, your story isn't all that uncommon. It seems to be the latest fad among scammers: steal someone's account and then impersonate them to their contacts - make up a fake emergency and hope that some of your friends will help "you" out by sending them money.
Also unfortunately, I'm not at all hopeful there's much that can be done.
Microsoft recently created the Windows Live Help Solutions Center, which is an online resource for resolving Hotmail related issues.
Perhaps the most telling statement from that site is this:
Q: I don't want to use the Solution Center? How do I contact someone at Microsoft directly?
We don't offer any direct phone or email support for Windows Live Hotmail. Our moderators and ambassadors are always available so posting through the WLHSC is your best way to contact us directly.
So there is no one to contact. Period.
Now, the solutions center does include this article: What to do if you think your account has been stolen. If you read through that article you'll see that they have several semi-automated ways of recovering or validating the account. I have no idea whether or not these techniques will work in every case, but they're most definitely the place to start.
Personally, in your case I would:
create a new account (perhaps on a paid, or different free email system)
email all your contacts that what they're seeing is a scam and that they should ignore any and all email from your old email address
start using the new email address
take care that it not be stolen
try to recover the old one, with the expectation that those attempts will fail
I have to conclude by emphasizing some lessons that we all need to be reminded of from the fact that this is so common:
Use a strong password.
Take care to protect that password.
Never, ever, rely on a free email account as the only place to keep important emails and contacts.
Backup. Backup. Backup.
Best of luck.
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