Security experts are seeing an increase in spam in Hotmail, Gmail, and other Web mail accounts. Increasingly, the spam appears to be coming from people that the victims know. Researchers suspect that cybercriminals are stealing passwords and other account information through fraudulent e-mail scams and then using these new accounts to send spam to everyone in the victim’s inbox.

To help protect yourself from these scams, follow these three steps:

1.       Guard your own account information.

2.       Learn to recognize phishing scams in case the scams look like they’re coming from someone that you know.

3.       Be careful with links in e-mail. They may direct you to spoofed Web sites.

If you think your Web e-mail account has been hacked, change your password. If you’re still having problems, see What to do if you’ve responded to a phishing scam for more steps to take.

For additional information, see the following articles:

·         5 tips to help keep your passwords secret

·         How to reduce the risk of online fraud

·         Scams that use Microsoft’s name or product names

·         Avoid Advance Fee Fraud and other lottery scams

·         Help protect your Windows Live ID