FAQ About Roadrunner Gmail Account Recovery
Q. Why can’t I tell someone private information about my account that they could look up to verify my claim?
A. Account privacy rules are very strict within Google, and allowing employees to look at the contents of an account would be a serious breach of privacy. You may know enough about the contents of the account to prove ownership, but no one at Google can verify that information.
Q. Why isn’t there a comments section in account recovery where I could add additional information to prove my claim?
A. Like above, it would be a violation of account privacy for an employee to look in the account to verify any additional information supplied.
Q. Why can’t I simply talk to somebody about this?
A. Unfortunately, Google does not offer live support for the free Gmail product (see:http://mail.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=contact_policy). You must use the recovery methods provided. There is also the fact that even if you could talk to someone, you would still have to answer the same questions to prove ownership of the account.
Q. Why can’t Google lock the account to protect it from any more damage or outgoing spam.
A. Google may disable an account if they notice suspicious usage or if the account is being used to send out spam. But again, privacy concerns would prevent them from simply locking an account because someone claims it’s theirs and is compromised. In addition, since there is no live support, there is no one to even make such a request to.
Q. I had a really long password of random strings that would be impossible to guess. How was my account compromised?
A. Google (as most e-mail providers) have blocks to prevent trying lots of passwords to guess the correct one (brute-force attacks). Most accounts are compromised by harvesting passwords other ways. While a secure password is important, it’s only one in a long list of things needed to keep any online account secure. This article has more information on this topic: http://gmail-tips.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-not-to-get-hacked.html
Q. But I’m very careful with my password. I don’t give it to anyone except an official request from Gmail.
A. Unfortunately, if you provided your password in response to an e-mail (even claiming to be from Google/Gmail) then your password was harvested by phishing. It’s very common and can trick even the most careful people.
Q. I’m not getting any reply after submitting my account recovery information.
A. First, make sure you are using a valid, working contact e-mail address that you check regularly for any replies. Also, check the junk/spam label in case any reply was miss-filtered. Then try again. You might also try a different contact e-mail address.
Q. My contacts were deleted by the hacker, how do I recover them?
A. Deleted contacts can now be restored to any point in the last thirty-days:https://support.google.com/mail/answer/1069522
Q. My e-mail history was deleted by the hacker, how do I recover it?
A. Have you looked in All Mail and Trash for the missing information? Have you used Search to try and find it? Unfortunately, messages deleted from Trash or Spam cannot be recovered. If you would like to request Google attempt to recover messages deleted by a hacker, see:https://support.google.com/mail/troubleshooter/4530113
Q. My account was deleted by the hacker, can I recover it?
A. The account recovery process can sometimes restore a recently deleted account. That is your only option in this case. But if you are told that “This account was deleted and is no longer recoverable” then the account is lost.
Q. I don’t care about the account, can I just get the e-mail history or the contacts from it.
A. Unfortunately, you have to be able to access the account in order to transfer any information out of it. This means you need to try and recover the account first.
Q. I don’t care about the contents, I just need the e-mail address back because I have other things linked to that address.
A. Account names are never re-used, so you can’t re-create the account. So to get the name back you will have to try and recover the account.
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Q. Can I find out who did this? Can anyone prosecute them?
A. About the only information you have available is the list of the last 10 IPs to access your account (see the Details link below the Inbox). But given how easy it is to fake IPs, and how inaccurate they are, it’s unlikely that more than a general location can be determined. In general, law enforcement is not interested in a simple compromised account, and Google is not a law enforcement agency. Bottom line is: one’s energy is better spent on recovery and re-securing the account.
Q. Isn’t what the person did illegal? Can I sue them or get them arrested?
A. Any legal questions should be asked of local law enforcement or an attorney. Google is neither of those and can not advise you on any actions.
Q. Can I find out what they did in my account while they had access?
A. There are no account activity logs available, so you can’t find out for sure. If there is spam in your Sent Mail, you know they used the account for that. But there’s no way to know if or what messages they may have looked at, so take appropriate precautions.
Q. How was my account compromised?
A. There are many ways passwords can be harvested and account compromised, but the most common ones include:
- Using the same password on multiple websites. A less secure site is hacked and they get the user database (e-mail and password) and then just try them all. If the person did not use a unique password, the hacker gains access to the e-mail account.
- Phishing e-mails that ask for account information or direct you to a phishing website. Don’t dismiss this because the messages are a lot more convincing that you would imagine, often using text copied from actual Google e-mails or online forms.
- Use of a computer that is infected with a key-logger or other malware (most common for public computers like at a school or library) which records your login information.