Why Do Hackers Steal Emails?

01 Feb 2023

Most people have two email addresses these days that they routinely use online: one for work and one for home.

As we transition from job to job, our professional email addresses tend to change every few years, but you're likely to use the same personal email address for years, possibly even a decade or more.

When we interact online, both our personal and professional email accounts serve as our "home base." Your principal method of communication with people and companies is via email.

The one piece of contact information you give up most often when shopping and banking is your email address.

Since most of our online activities involve creating accounts and logging in, your email address will inevitably be published widely online.

Illustration showing laptop with envelope being clicked on that contins a virus

Is It Fine to Share Your Email Address with Others?

It would be impossible to entirely conceal your email address. Among a variety of other things, we use digital tools to connect with our loved ones, set up accounts with social media sites and online merchants, and complete digital transactions.

However, experts advise being cautious about where and to whom you reveal your email address. 

Sharing your email address openly increases the risk of it falling into the wrong hands, which could lead to unwanted marketing emails or the victimization of a hacker who could use it for various damaging purposes.

Therefore, having the right cyber security solutions will help you understand several damaging reputation aspects.  

Why Would a Hacker Want to Steal Your Email Address?

Most people only have one email address, which they use for everything, including communicating with their doctor, getting financial institution alerts, and perhaps carrying out significant financial transactions like buying or selling a home.

Hackers can make use of your email address to send phishing emails and collect vital data, such as your financial information and login information, that enables them to carry out other crimes like identity theft.

Illustration showing hacker using laptop

What Happens When a Hacker Steals Your Email Address?

Your personal and financial information, as well as that of your friends, family, and other contacts, may all be at risk if a hacker obtains your email address.

1. Email Phishing Scams

Hackers with your email address will likely send you phishing and scam emails. Hackers may attempt to persuade you to take action, whether that action is to give them money, access to your accounts, or personal information that may steal your identity. 

2. Make Up a Fake Email Address

Attackers can spoof your email address to defraud others and send fraudulent emails to your account. They start by creating a fake sender address that closely resembles yours, adding subtle and difficult-to-detect alterations like a period or changing a number for a letter.

Once they have the email address, they send "spoof" messages containing malicious software or demand payment. Scammers can avoid spam filters on most email accounts by spoofing because the email address appears authentic.

3. Discover Personal Data

Your email address can be used for various risky online activities, including stalking. If there aren't any privacy safeguards in place, a search on Facebook can, at the very least, yield a public name, the names of friends, and sometimes even images.

Even if stalking is uncommon, you may minimize your online visibility by never sharing these items on social media. 

4. Use Your Online Accounts to Access

Using your password to access your email account allows hackers to discover the passwords for all online accounts that utilize your email address as the username.

All they need to do is click the "forgot password" button and update the password using the email supplied to your address to learn the password for any account. For this reason, it's crucial to enable two-factor authentication for your online accounts. 

Final Takeaways 

Inputting your email address on a social media site, an online bank, or an online retailer is something you do without a second thought. However, scammers frequently target it because of how simple it is to use and share your email address.

Fraudsters know that the foundation of your digital identity is your email address. Bills, login information, sensitive data, photographs, and videos can all be found in your inbox.

Even worse, despite your best efforts, scammers can still find your email address because they have a variety of ways to do so. The best solution is to use the right cyber security services to protect your email address from these fraudsters.