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Secure your emails

Make sure it is safe before you start the step-by-step guide

Remember that some actions you take to increase your security or privacy might alert an abuser, and they might escalate their abusive behaviour.

If you haven’t yet, read our safety information.

Steps to secure your emails

  1. If you’re worried someone is monitoring your phone, use a safer device to contact Refuge’s 24h National Domestic Abuse Helpline (Freephone) on 0808 2000 247. A safer device might be another phone from a trusted friend, family, or a neighbour, or a computer in a library, school, or workplace.
  2. Increase your security and privacy through account settings. You may need to log in to your cloud account (Google, iCloud, Yahoo) rather than your email app to make these changes. Many companies offer tools to guide you through these settings when you log in to your account.
    • Check who has accessed your account and remove any unwanted devices or people.
    • Change the password and set up two-factor authentication.
    • Check the backup email and/or phone number for your account, and verify that the “reply to” address hasn’t been changed to someone else’s.
    • Review your profile information and your email signature.
    • Check if your messages are being forwarded to someone else.
    • Block harassing email addresses.
  3. Log out each time.
  4. Contact the company if someone has hacked or taken over your account.
  5. Use multiple emails accounts, including more secure email options like Proton Mail that offer encryption. Have a separate email account for different purposes like banking, work or school, dating, and others.



Email security basics

Email is a simple way to send a message to someone else. Emails can include pictures, documents, or other files as attachments. Email is not confidential or secure.

This means that someone else may be able to read your email, including anything in your email account, from banking records to emails about your health or other personal matters.

It also means that someone else can send you an email with a link or an attachment that is infected with “malware” like a computer virus or stalkerware.

If you use an app for email or use a browser on your computer, it usually stays logged in.

This means that anyone who can access your phone or shares your computer can read your email.

Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and other web-based email can be accessed from multiple phones or computers.

This means that anyone with access to your account can read your email, even if they can’t access your phone or computer.

Email can be used as a way to retrieve a lost password or other account information.

This means that anyone with access to your account may be able to gain access to other accounts linked to your email.

A copy of every email you send is automatically saved in your “sent” items. Deleted messages are just moved to the “trash” until you permanently delete them.

This means that those emails could be seen by someone else with access to your account.