September 21, 2016

Share Everywhere

Social Media Privacy Tip: How to Detect Unauthorized Account Access

In one of my recent speaking engagements I discussed how someone could have access to your Gmail account, and you would be none the wiser. During that talk, I spoke about the Settings/Forwarding feature in Gmail which allows a user to set up automatic forwarding to any email address outside of your account. Most of the attendees were unaware that this setting even existed.

forward settings screen within Gmail

At the end of the presentation, a very discouraged and somewhat frightened looking woman approached me to tell me that, when she looked at that setting during my presentation, she found out that all of her emails were being forwarded to an ex boyfriend, who she also had a restraining order against. This had been going on for at least a couple of years, without her knowledge, even while the restraining order was active.

So beloved reader, this is serious stuff. Not only could your Gmail account be accessed by the bad guys, so could your social media accounts. Pay attention.

Social Media Privacy Tip: Checking on Unauthorized Access

It is relatively easy to check to see if someone has accessed your social media accounts, and if you find out that someone has, you should take steps to remedy it.


  • Open Facebook on a computer or mobile device, look at the Settings menu, and choose Security
  • Click Edit when you see the phrase “Where You’re Logged In,” and you will see all of the devices that are linked to your account.
  • If something looks strange, click the End Activity If you feel highly suspicious, you can also click End All Activity and you will log out of Facebook on all devices.
  • You can also set up notification for the future that will show you when anyone logs in as you on your Facebook by clicking Login Alerts.



  • Log into the Twitter website, click the avatar, and choose
  • Click the Your Twitter Data and re-enter your password.
  • This takes you to your device and login history, which allows you to see all of the aps, browsers, and phones that have been used to access your account. Though you cannot end these immediately, you can see what is going on.
  • If you see suspicious logins from an app, go to the Apps tab and stop the access from this screen.

twitter security settings

Checking on Unauthorized Access to Your Gmail Account

In addition to these social media privacy tips, you can also check the access to your Gmail account.

  • Log into your Gmail account, scroll to the bottom, and find the link that says Details.
  • Click this link and you will see the last 10 times your account has been accessed. If something looks weird, change your password immediately.
  • While checking out your account, you should take the opportunity to turn on the two-factor authentication, which gives you even more protection.
  • See if email forwarding has been set up by anyone other than you. Go to the Google gear in the upper right hand and click settings then go to “forwarding and POP Imap”. The dialog box called “Forward a copy of incoming mail to:” should be empty.

screen showing recent gmail login sessions

There you have it. And while you are at it, change up all your passwords and add two factor authentication to each account. Check all your accounts now.

Share these social media privacy tips with your friends and family so that their personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Sarah Joy.

Robert Siciliano

Community Educator at IdentityForce
ROBERT SICILIANO, CSP, the #1 bestselling author, is serious about teaching you about fraud prevention and personal security. Robert is a private investigator fiercely committed to informing, educating and empowering people so they can protect themselves and their loved ones from violence and crime in their everyday lives, both in their physical and virtual interactions. Robert, a Certified Speaking Professional with an engaging “tell it like it is” style, is a favorite source for dozens of major media outlets, leading corporations and organizations looking for the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Robert is accessible, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment with down-to-earth insights at a moment’s notice on breaking news that affects us all.

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