It looks like someone else might be using your account: Outlook, SkyDrive, Xbox

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If you see message It looks like someone else might be using your account when you go on to sign into your Outlook, SkyDrive, Xbox, here are a few things you need to know. Over the last few years, Microsoft has greatly expanded the Windows online service pack to add a baffling list of services. Way beyond the usual email and instant messaging, this software giant now offers a host of free services that include a cloud storage service like SkyDrive, a browser-based version of Office, Outlook, an Address book, a system to sync files between desktop machines and mobile and above all, the Xbox.

It looks like someone else might be using your account

It looks like someone else might be using your account

With so much on offer, and that too for free, it does sound like a brilliant deal – and it is no doubt. However, there is one downside – it is not rare for users of Microsoft Accounts to see a message – It looks like someone else might be using your account message from Microsoft. Seeing this message means Microsoft will thwart your attempts to access all these servers linked to Microsoft Account as well as the precious data on them if your Microsoft powered email account is blocked. On top of that, not getting access to Xbox Live, the Windows Phone Marketplace, Messenger and SkyDrive, the worst is that it may prevent you from getting the most out of your new Windows OS.

According to Microsoft’s official support forum, there is an array of reasons that can get your Windows Live account blocked, however, with only one exception, most of these are largely due to end-user misuse. The most common ones include you forgetting your password and repeatedly attempting to access your account with the wrong password or to be reckless with your account’s security and ending up getting it hacked. There is a high probability that your computer might be infected with virus and malware which have stolen your password and passed it onto the hacker.

In all cases, all Microsoft will tell you, is that It looks like someone else might be using your account. If you are facing this issue, here are a few ways you can regain access to your Windows Live account and the related services.

Change or reset your Microsoft Account password

If you believe that your Windows Live account has been hacked, try to sign in to it and do the following:

1] If you can sign in to your account, try changing your password as immediately. It will help thwart the hacker who now knows your password, from signing in to your account again. All you need to do for this is go to your account’s security page and select the option to change the password and simply follow the instructions.

2] If you can’t sign in to your account, it could either be because you have forgotten your password or someone has hacked into your account and changed the password. In that case, fill out the account recovery form by following the procedure below:

  1. Go to the account Password Reset page and select “Forgot my password” and then “I think someone else is using my Microsoft account” and click Next.
  2. If you remember, then put in the phone number, email address or Skype name that was used to create that Windows Live account.
  3. Choose the “I don’t have any of these” option when you are asked to verify your identity and then click “Next”.

This will lead you to a page that reads “Recover your account”. You’ll need to follow the steps below to fill out the recovery form and submit your account recovery request.

  1. Double check to ensure that the account detailed written under “Email, phone or Skype name” section are yours and are spelled correctly.
  2. Fill in an email address that Microsoft can use to contact you regarding the recovery of your account and then hit “Next”.

Microsoft will send you a security code through an email to verify the contact email address you’ve provided. Enter that recovery code to the screen that pops up requesting you to verify your email address.

You’ll now be asked to answer a host of questions regarding your account and yourself. A good practice is to provide as much information as you can, even when you are not sure if you remember the right information.

Now hit “Submit” button and you are done.

You’ll hear from Microsoft on your recovery request within 24 hours. In most cases, going through this hassle turns out to be fruitful. If it doesn’t work the first time, you can try it again, twice every day as per the limit of attempts per day set by Microsoft.

Read: Unblock and Recover a blocked or suspended Outlook or Microsoft account.

Steps to follow after recovering your Microsoft Account

Once you regain hold of your account, make sure to take all security measures to ensure your account’s security. Read this post titled Microsoft Account protection, login and security tips.

If you keep getting the “It looks like someone else might be using your account” it is highly possible that the hacker still has access to your account. Reset your password immediately and secure your account and other recovery accounts associated with it. Often, experienced hackers make back doors into your email account so that they can still access your account again after you reset your password.

Read: Microsoft Account hacked? Help is here!

After that, follow the tips below to help protect your account in future:

  1. Scan your computer for viruses and remove all the infected programs or files. At times, malware created by hackers is planted into your system as and when you download an otherwise neat software, and it sends information to hackers.
  2. Change your security information like your secret security question etc. Make sure that the answer to your secret question is something you could remember easily but no one else could guess.
  3. Though it is highly inconvenient, try adding two-stage verification option for your account for a few weeks to ensure the safety of your account.
  4. Logout from all sessions except those that are on your trusted devices. Depending on the application, there are inbuilt options for the same.
  5. Be cautious while downloading freeware and don’t click on Next, Next blindly.

While it is a pain to deal with a situation where you account has been compromised, a few precautions can help save your data and your business.