First Published: 2012; Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014
I’ve already discussed about how to secure your Gmail account from hacking. It’s all about keeping your account safe by using a strong password (use a combination of alphabets, numbers, symbols) and by enabling 2-Step verification. But what to do when your Gmail account is hacked or compromised? Since the hacker may have already changed your password, security question & answer, recovery email address, mobile number associated with the account you can’t recover your Gmail using the basic account recovery methods.
If the basic account recovery options like recovery email address and mobile phone number is not changed then you can instantly recover the account by requesting a verification code to your mobile phone or by confirming access to your recovery e-mail.
What If Your Google Account Is Hacked?
If you don’t have access to any of those recovery options then the only option is to verify your identity by answering a set of questions related to the hacked Google account. Your answers will help them ensure that you’re the actual account holder and only you get access to your account.
In General You’ll Need The Following Information To Quickly Reset Password
What was the last password that you remember (must have)?
When was the last time (month, date, and year) you were able to sign in to your Gmail account (must have)?
When did you (month and year) create your Gmail account (must have)?
What was the answer to your security question?
E-mail addresses of up to 5 frequently emailed contacts.
Name of up to 4 labels.
What was the first account recovery e-mail address that you remember?
Name up to 4 other Google products that you were using with your Gmail account and also the approximate date (month and year) you started using them.
Phone numbers that you may have associated with your Google account.
Information about how you lost access to your Google/Gmail account.
Since they ask you to verify your identity by asking multiple questions about your account you’ll need as much accurate information as possible. The questions that they ask may vary according to your usage. For example, I tried different accounts to test Gmail password reset option and the questions were all different but the whole process remains the same.
Here’s What To Do When Your Gmail Account Is Hacked
Step 1: Go to Google account login page and click on “Need help?” link.
Step 2: It redirects you to the Google Account Recovery page. Select the “I don’t know my password” option on that page and enter your Google/Gmail ID and click “Continue”.
Step 3: Now you may see a Captcha form, so fill it out and click “Continue”. On the next page you can enter your last password that you remember and click “Continue” or simply choose the “I don’t know” option.
Step 4: Now Google will offer the basic password reset option. It will work when you forgot your Google account password but not when it’s hacked. It’s because the hacker may have already changed all those details so you won’t be able to recover using any of those options. Now the only way to recover the password is to use the “Verify your identity” option.
Step 5: “Verify your identity” page takes you to an account verification process. So you have to verify your identity by answering multiple questions about your account.
Google suggests you to answer the questions as accurately as possible (because the strength of your answers will determine if they can return your account or not) and if you’re not sure about something then you can provide your best guess.
Though you’re allowed to skip these questions it’s very important.
If you’re not sure about the date you started using Google services then you can even get help from your friends. For example, I can check the verification text messages sent by various mobile messenger apps to find the date I started using an app. Or I can find the date I started using an e-mail account by asking my friends to check the incoming messages from that e-mail account.
If the information that you’ve provided matches with the information on the Google account then you will be able to reset the password. Otherwise Google will instantly notify you that the information you’ve provided does not match the information on the account. But you’re allowed to submit the form once again with more accurate information.
Let me know if you have a query regarding Gmail account recovery and I’ll do my best to assist you.