Greensboro - Email has become a part of daily life for most, but what many people don't know is how easily your email can be taken over by hackers.
A prime target for hackers are chain emails that are forwarded sometimes hundreds of times, according to Detective Jeff Flinchum with the Greensboro Police Department.
Flinchum says, "what people don't realize it, when they are spreading those urban legends, there is probably encoded in there a return, and all those email addresses that are being added, are being captured and sent back."
One captured, hackers can they "spoof" emails accounts, according to Flinchum, and begin sending spam emails out, using the stolen email address name.
Flinchum says, "Go back and look at how many email addresses are in there, it is troves of information, and these are people you don't know."
Email addresses today should be as protected as your social security number, according to Flinchum, because of the ease of spoofing them and how difficult it is to catch hackers.
"These hackers are really good at what they do and hiding themselves" said Flinchum. He said they are often overseas, and police forces don't have jurisdiction in other countries.
To protect your email account from hacking, the bottom line, according to Flinchum, is don't give your email address to just anybody, don't forward chain emails and if you do, copy and paste the email into a new message, and don't click on links from people you don't know or website you don't recognize.