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Getting unsolicited password reset requests for your Hotmail account could be someone trying to hack you, or it could just be a phishing attack.

I continually get emails from Hotmail saying I have requested for my password to be reset, and I most definitely have not requested this. I have had the same password for years (probably not a good idea) but could these repeated emails from Hotmail be a sign that someone is hacking into my account?

Yes, while it's definitely not a good thing to leave your password unchanged for years at a time, I also know that changing it often is a pain. I'm as guilty as you are when it comes to my Hotmail account.

Unsolicited password requests aren't a good thing. The question is just how bad a thing are they? The answer varies.

My initial reaction is that I think I smell phishing. I'm not sure that I'd expect a directed attack against you, but rather a general phishing attack trying to get people to mistakenly give up their Hotmail passwords.

My guess is it that works like this: the reset mail doesn't come from Hotmail at all. it comes from a phisher who makes it look like it came from Hotmail. If you click on the link(s) embedded in the mail, then you'll go to the phisher's site, not Hotmail. If the phisher has done his job well, the site will look like Hotmail, but it won't be Hotmail.

"... there are services that supposedly will get you anyone's Hotmail password and I believe this is exactly how some of them operate."

And I'm guessing once you get there it'll ask you for your account name and old password "for verification". If you give that information up, then your account is probably about to be hacked.

Interestingly enough there are services that supposedly will get you anyone's Hotmail password and I believe this is exactly how some of them operate. But that's a directed attack - meaning it's not a broad spamming of all Hotmail users, but someone using this service to get your password.

It's also possible someone's doing it manually - trying to request a password reset by hitting the "forgot my password" links when logging into Hotmail. They could be doing it on purpose, of course, and trying to get your specific password.

Or it could be a big mistake.

Sadly, I've noticed that many people are unable to get their own email address correct when filling out a form. That's one reason you often see that annoying "fill in your address twice" to make sure that you can do so, twice. I've also seen many users actually forget their email addresses.

Regardless, someone could simply be innocently looking to gain access to their own account but mistakenly typing in your email address instead of their own.

The bottom line is that you should ignore and delete any requests that you didn't initiate. As long as you can continue to login to your Hotmail account, then you should be fine.

You might consider changing your password, though.

Article C3076 - July 5, 2007 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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8 Comments
George Arauz
July 9, 2007 5:08 PM

After a while hotmail and other emails see a trend in passwords many people use. If its used by a certain percentage of people, they suggest you change yours

Barbara
September 17, 2007 1:49 PM

Hi,
Since sept15,2007 i cannot get into my hotmail account...says e-mail and password are not valid.
Well i'm 48 and i know that my e-mail and Password are correct.
Please help me i need my hotmail back.
I know all about the windows live mail ****.
Cannot import hotmail.
I want my hotmail account back!!!
Thanks,
Barbara

marilyn
January 4, 2008 2:27 PM

I'm trying tio log in and the hotmail says it's not valid, I don't understand

delma
November 29, 2008 8:26 AM

i've been trying to get into my account and i can't get through, and yes, before i got alot of password reset mails, now i can't get in and i have so much stuff on that account... i just don't understand...?!

caroline
December 17, 2008 12:15 AM

i just made a new hotmail account and not even a week after that, i got many reset password emails that i obviously never asked for,, is that means someone is trying to hack my account?

Probably.
- Leo
17-Dec-2008

Campbell
September 21, 2010 1:48 AM

This morning I tried to log in to me hotmail account and I get a Windows Live screen telling me I should change my password. It wants me to supply the old one and then select a new one. It looks as if I will have to do this to get to my emails. What alarms me is that I have been using the same password for about ten years and never been asked to change it before. OK... it is porbably a good idea to change but... being made to change it in this compulsary manner is alarming. Is it genuinely Hotmail asking me to do this or is this some sort of imitator or phising outfit? URL, graphics and english all look perfect... Anyone else having this experience? Be very grateful for advice Leo. (Have read article!)

Jessica
January 4, 2011 8:06 PM

Is there a way to know who`s trying to hack my hotmail account password?
Because I`ve been getting unsolicited password reset requests for my account. Also last time I tried to sing in, I found out that my account had been blocked because a wrong password was entered to many times. And it wasn`t me. And finally, I`ve been getting e-cards from an unknown source and I read from another blog, that it`s a way to hack you password if you try to see the card. I think someone`s doing it manually.

I know of no way to find out who.
Leo
05-Jan-2011

Chinasa Uzoagba
January 18, 2011 7:36 AM

What will i do, they said my passward could not be reset, that i have reached the limit of password attempts. i dont want to lost this account because i will lost my friends pls help me to do this, pls i'm waiting to use my facebook lastest 2morrow please i need your help, u can send me an email as soon as possible.Thanks.

This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?
Leo
19-Jan-2011

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