Trying to recover my compromised Hotmail account


[Edited to add: Microsoft Live support resolved this issue very swiftly and professionally. I now have control of my Hotmail account back.]

Somebody, let us call him Anthony Ikpe, has hijacked my Hotmail account and sent a begging letter to everybody in my address book. A transparent ruse but apologies to everybody who got this message. Needless to say I am not stuck in West Africa nor do I need an urgent transfer of funds to help get me home. If you would like to send me money then please do so, but don’t send it to an address in Nigeria.

I don’t know how Anthony Ikpe was able to get access to my account, but he has managed to change the password, change the alternate email address and change the challenge-response questions so I cannot get back control of the account by the usual means. My old password was not a strong one, but nor was it an easily-guessable one. I suspect he has somehow spoofed the password reset system, which would be a security issue for Microsoft if it is true.

My Hotmail address is the one I publish publicly – the Hotmail account is designed to be the one that gets attacked. My friends, family and colleagues know that it’s not the address I normally use. I also use it for buying things online so that the resulting marketing messages don’t bother me. However, if I’m in the middle of a buying something it assumes a temporary importance. And I am indeed using my Hotmail account quite heavily at the moment. Or not, as it turns out.

Inconvenient then, and I’d like to get it back if possible. And I’d certainly like to stop Mr Ikpe from reading the messages I’m currently getting on that account. So I am trying to contact Microsoft to let them know what has happened and see if anything can be done.

Attempt 1

I click on the Help link on the Hotmail home page. Yay! there’s a link for “What do I do if I think someone is using my Windows Live ID? “. I click it. It gives me another link to “Report to Microsoft” any suspicious activity.

I click it. It leads to a Technet page with another link telling me to fill in a form on this page: Helpful Information for Microsoft Passport Network

I click the link. It takes me back to the Hotmail help page.

Presumably Microsoft think their customers are so stupid they will continue round this loop for ever without noticing they aren’t getting anywhere.

Attempt 2

I call Microsoft UK. After patiently navigating their call centre menus, I arrive at the Hotmail options. For billing enquiries please press 1. For all other enquiries please go to http://uk.msn.com

My first reaction is Gaaah! But surprisingly there is a form on the MSN site that allows you to report Hotmail security issues. I filled in the form and submitted it. The waiting begins.

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23 Responses to “Trying to recover my compromised Hotmail account”


  1. 1 lucy March 5, 2010 at 23:22

    Why those hacker compromised our hotmail account? randomly or they are requested by some people to do that and get paid?

    I have very vital information stored in my account, and all my contacts are stored in the account address book.

    I am now waiting for Microsoft hotmail team to investigate it and recover for me…I can not lost my ID..who can help me???

  2. 2 lucy March 5, 2010 at 21:48

    Hi, my hotmail was compromised 2 days ago, I suddenly can not access, but i used it everyday, I have very important information stored in my hotmail, i can not lose the hotmail, I have reported to Microsoft live service, they are now locked my account while they are investigating it.

    I tried to re-set the passowrd myself, but i tried all the possible alternative emails, but there is no any those emails received a email abour passowrd re-setting requirement.

    And, i can not remember the secutiry question and answer…

    and now i almost lost connection with my hotmail and MSN friends…

    i hope MS can help me to regain the access to my hotmail and MSN asap. but i don’t know why hacker compromised my account? they get paid by working for the request of some people?

    Can anybody tell me your experiences?

    Thanks,

    Lucy

  3. 3 hotmale February 15, 2010 at 01:41

    I can try to help seriously. Email me at ***@yahoo.com and we can discuss the details there…

  4. 5 Gina September 2, 2009 at 03:45

    Hi, I am one of those victims too. I got an email from “Window’s Live” saying I have to respond to their email with my password or they would close down my account. So I did and the next I know I can’t sign into my email and all my friends are getting emails about me stranded in UK London with my wallet and valuables stolen. He even has his name and where to send the money. I can’t reset it because they are sending the request to the account i cannot open. Can anyone help me please…I have my important personal and financial things on there

  5. 6 flex April 24, 2009 at 19:47

    how to recover deleted contacts from hotmail account,one of those spybots or something sending vacation reply to all my contacts, and when i ereased the vacation reply,it wipe my contacts, i try the msn hotmail chat rooms and nada, do you have any ideas?

  6. 7 Nick February 6, 2009 at 20:43

    Thanks for posting your information. I received an email from a friend with a message of urgency and to send money to london because he lost his wallet and needed way back home – I suspected it was a scam and informed him and then found out he had his hotmail account hijacked.

    I googled and found your page – very interesting and helpful information!

    Thanks again,
    Kala

  7. 8 dr. jimmy February 4, 2009 at 01:50

    yup, my buddy has his account comproised for a few days now. The IP address from the emails is orignating from amsterdam and they are asking to send money to england. The also managed to get the passwords for facebook and other accounts.

    The password reset questions and alternate email accounts that are listed as solutions for compromised accounts are a joke. Its the first thing the hacker changed.

    Spent 6 hrs on this and have yet to find one ****** person to talk to to get this resolved. Caling MSN we just get a message that says to forward the messages to abuse@hotmail.com. ITs been a day now and the account is still compromised and still sending out emails to which ask each person to send money to save the person who owns the account. Really embarassing this stuff happens.

  8. 9 Dona January 17, 2009 at 23:10

    This has just happened to me. Was it resolved? Did you get your account back, Dominic? I am freaking out. I snet messages to windows live… hotmail was my primary account for business and friends.

    Dona

  9. 11 Dominic Sayers December 17, 2008 at 08:52

    Thanks Andy. I hope other people in a similar position find your advice helpful.

  10. 12 Andy December 16, 2008 at 23:12

    Looks like I may have the same issue. Unable to recover password using the secret question either. It was a pain navigating through the FAQs to find the right link to an actual site where I could submit my problem. Here are the steps I took to find the right link:

    -Hotmail login page
    -Help Central Link (bottom right corner of page)
    -Search for: What do I do if I think someone is using my Windows Live ID?
    -Click Report to Microsoft link at top of the answer
    -This forwards to the link below:

    https://support.live.com/eform.aspx?productKey=wlid&ct=eformts&scrx=1

    This looks like an updated version of the link that Chelsey Flynn posted in August.

    Im now waiting to hear back from support. Hopefully it works.

  11. 13 Chris November 21, 2008 at 05:18

    I forgot my password…
    It won’t let me send to an alternate
    email either. MSN is no help at all.
    Any suggestions?

  12. 14 ripan November 15, 2008 at 15:25

    dear friend

    i m using hotmail id from the last 8 years .but from the last week i cannot access my accony. please help me. how i solve this problem . my hotmail id is blocked . i m using starpolyfab@hotmail.com. kindly suggest where i contact.

    thanx

    ripan

  13. 15 Jennifer October 18, 2008 at 21:06

    Same thing happened to me today. Got several calls and texts from friends wondering what was going on when thet received an email from me looking for money. How long does it take to get your account back after submitting form to windows which took forever to find?

    so many contacts that i hope i haven’t lost.

  14. 16 natasha October 14, 2008 at 12:03

    Dear Dominic,

    I don’t know what to do!?
    MY account at hotmail under name natasha003@hotmail.com that I have been using since 97 is blocked, and msn is not helping by mail. Looks like either someone got in and changed my password, or there is something wrong with msn system…
    I have all my vital contacts and info there that i need urgently.
    Have u got any numbers i can call?
    There is absolutely no numbers to call in msn website regarding this!

    Please suggest what I can do?

    Thanks,

    Natallya

  15. 17 Dominic Sayers August 12, 2008 at 16:02

    Thanks Miriam. I hope you recover your account as quickly as I did.

  16. 18 Miriam J August 12, 2008 at 15:39

    Dominic… not sure I should feel relieved to hear your story. The exact, but exact thing has happened to me today to and my account here in the US of A. I have gotten numerous alarmed emails from friends/family/contact (to my alternative accts) and am also locked out of my hotmail account. Really really disturbing. I have also lodged this issue with the Windows Live Acct Customer Support at the same link Chelsea notes above. Fingers crossed and good luck.

  17. 20 Chelsey Flynn August 9, 2008 at 17:00

    You might want to try this It helped me when my account was hacked…

    https://support.live.com/eformpost.aspx?locale=en-us&productKey=wlid&ct=eformts&subtype=free#refocus

  18. 21 Dominic Sayers July 14, 2008 at 17:52

    I have a helpful-sounding and polite response from MSN that looks for all the world like it was written by a human being. Unfortunately the only promise it makes it to forward my issue to the correct team.

    Interesting that Microsoft help team’s prose is as flowery and grovelling as any West African scamster’s:

    “I realize the importance of your concern and the need for it to be addressed right away…Please accept my apologies for not being able to assist you fully. Thank you for patience and understanding on this matter.”

  19. 22 Dominic Sayers July 14, 2008 at 17:49

    Having spoken now to some of the recipients, it looks as if Mr Ikpe has taken the time and trouble to personalise some of his emails.

    While admiring his industry and creativity, I still think it’s a shame he doesn’t use his talents in a legitimate endeavour.

    I sent him an email myself but haven’t had a response yet. I sort of hope he has the chutzpah to ask me for money too.

  20. 23 Myrto July 14, 2008 at 17:20

    I realised that there was something wrong because I was following you on twitter…. otherwise the email looked very convincing…
    Good luck with recovering your account… it must be a horrible experience knowing that someone hijacked your email – even if it is not the one you are using every day…


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