Q: My Hotmail e-mail address has been hijacked. I am getting e-mails from strangers asking to be removed from my mailing list (I don't have one). What can do?
A: Don't assume those e-mails are legitimate; they might be a "phishing" tactic to get you to click on a malicious Web link.
But if the e-mails are legitimate, one of three things may have happened. Your Hotmail account may have been hijacked by someone who knew or guessed your password. Someone may have "spoofed," or falsified, your e-mail address. Or your computer may have malicious software on it that read the saved Hotmail login information on your PC.
First, secure your computer. You should be using a firewall, some anti-virus software and some anti-spyware software.
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Run anti-virus and anti-spyware scans. (If you don't have an anti-spyware program, I recommend downloading the free Spybot -- Search & Destroy, which can be found at www.startribune.com/a4353.) Secure your Hotmail account: Change the password and any "secret questions" that identify you if you forget your password.
If the problem persists, consider getting a different free e-mail account from Microsoft's Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or Google's Gmail.