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Is Someone Accessing Your Gmail, Facebook or Netflix Accounts?

Find out if a stranger is lurking with these step-by-step instructions for each

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With all the headlines about data breaches, scams and malicious software, you may be tempted to unplug it all and live like a Luddite, opposed to all technology.

Less tech-savvy folks may feel helpless in dealing with tech problems, but life in the digital age is relatively safe. As long as you take a few precautions, you can feel confident about shopping and banking online, keeping in touch with friends over social media, and enjoying streaming services on all your devices.

We’ve explored how to avoid scams and fraud, securely log into websites and services and create smart passwords. But have you ever suspected that someone was accessing services that you probably use daily, such as your Facebook, Gmail or Netflix accounts?

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Here’s a way to see if your hunches are true — and what you can do about it. You’ll find it easier to perform this quick privacy check on your computer instead of a smartphone, smart TV or tablet.

How to shut out a Facebook hacker

You may have heard about Facebook breaches, impostor accounts and other swindles tied to Facebook. Also creepy is the thought of someone accessing your Facebook account without your consent.

Here’s how to see the devices logged into your Facebook account to ensure it’s you and only you. On your computer:

1. Sign into Facebook and tap the black down-pointing triangle▼at the top right corner of the screen on some browsers or your profile photo in the same area.

2. Click on ⚙︎ Settings & privacy | Settings.

3. Click next on Security and login in the left column, also called the left rail.

4. Look for a section in the middle called Where you’re logged in. It will show you the two most recent devices and their approximate login locations. One will be the device you’re on right now.

5. Click ▼ See more for a more comprehensive view of all the logged-in devices, locations and times, such as iPhone 13 Pro Max, Washington, D.C., 13 hours ago. Carefully review each entry and look for locations you’ve never been or devices you don’t own.

6. Click the three dots ⋮ to the right of that Facebook session if one of these is not you and select Not you? or Log out. The first option will give you more details about the device used to log in and where it was located, plus steps to secure your account. The latter option will log off that device.

See what's signed in to your Google account

The world’s most popular and free web mail provider makes it easy to see if anyone else has access to your email address, anywhere in the world. You can see what devices are connected to your Google account, which includes Gmail:

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1. Go to your Google account, which is different from your Gmail account. If you aren’t signed in already, you’ll need to.

2. Click 🔒 Security in the left column.

3. Scroll to Your devices to see where you’re signed in now. Click on any of the items under Your devices to see details of where you are logged in or have been in the past 28 days.

You will see the location, such as Los Angeles; operating system such as Chrome, Mac OS or Windows; and web browser, such as Chrome, Edge or Safari. A mobile device will show iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, and so on. You will also see the date and time of usage. For a deeper dive, you can click an individual entry for more details.

Watch out for a device you don’t own, maybe a Chromebook, or a location you haven’t been to, such as Seattle.

4. Review these details. If you’re not sure if that’s you, sign out.

If you’re already looking at the details of all the devices, you can click on any device and then click again on the Sign out button. If you’re still on the opening Security page, you can do the same thing by clicking Manage all devices. It won’t allow you to sign out on the device you’re using now.

If multiple sessions appear with the same device name, they could all come from the same device or multiple devices. If you want to make sure no account has access from a particular device, sign out of all the sessions with this device name.

If you’re worried that the security of your account has been compromised, change your password immediately. But don’t forget to change passwords in these other seldom thought-of places that Google touches:

• Other accounts that use the same password as your Google account. Use this as an opportunity create a unique password or pass phrase unique for each because using the same password on multiple sites is a no-no.

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• Sites that contact you through your Gmail address

• Sites where you sign in with your Gmail account

• Sites whose passwords you’ve saved to Google Password Manager, the place where passwords you’ve asked Google to store are located

Contact your bank or police department if you see that someone is trying to open an account or transfer money if you have banking information saved in your account, such as credit cards saved in Google Pay or Chrome; or information about your taxes or passport in Gmail, Google Drive or Google Photos.

Find out where your Netflix is being viewed

While Netflix has vowed to clamp down on password sharing, part of its popularity is rooted in allowing family and maybe a close friend to have access to your account. If you’ve been too generous, you may not remember who has your password or know if they have shared it with others you don’t know:

1. Log into your account on the Netflix website. If you have multiple profiles set up, select your profile to go to the Netflix homepage.

2. Hover over your profile icon in the top right corner of your screen and choose Account.

3. Go to the Settings section and select Recent device streaming activity. Here you will see a list of devices, locations, and dates/times when your Netflix account was accessed. Your location, like Chicago, will have a numerical IP address, like, that also tells you the geographical area. You can find your IP address by doing a Google search with the phrase: What is my IP address?

If you see devices or locations not tied to your account, you can sign them out by hovering over your profile icon again and choosing Account. In the Settings section, choose Sign out of all devices. Now you can change your password and sign in again, all by yourself.

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