Check your Gmail settings

If you use Gmail, you can follow these steps to help make sure that your account stays safe.

Make sure that your email is not getting forwarded or shared unless you want it to be

Check the “Mail settings” tab in Gmail for forwarding and delegation settings that grant others access to your account to make sure that your email is being directed properly.

If you forget your password, you need a way to get back into your account

Google can send you an email at a recovery email address if you need to reset your password, so make sure that recovery email address is up to date and is an account that you can access. You can also add a phone number to your Gmail profile to receive a code to reset your password via text message.

Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe. For example, Google can use the phone number to challenge people if they try to break into your account and send you a verification code so that you can get into your account if you ever lose access. Giving a recovery phone number to Google won’t result in you being signed up for marketing lists or getting more calls from telemarketers.

Your mobile phone is a more secure identification method than your recovery email address or a security question because, unlike the other two, you have physical possession of your mobile phone.

Check for unusual access or activity in your account

Regularly review your account for unfamiliar or suspicious activity. Click on the “details” link at the very bottom of the page to find the most recent IP addresses that your mail was accessed from and their associated locations. If you see suspicious account activity, immediately change your password and log out of your account. Find out more information about suspicious account activity.

When you’re signing into Gmail, you should check to make sure that the web address begins with https:// (and not just “http://”). This signals that your connection to the website is encrypted and more resistant to snooping or tampering. For more Gmail tips, take a look at our Gmail security checklist.

Report harassment from a Gmail user

If you experience a Gmail user violating Gmail policies, please review these recommended next steps.

Safety tools

Discover the Top 5 Google online safety features designed to help you keep your family safe online.

Google Accounts

Make your Google Account even more secure

You can add an extra layer of security to your Google Account by enabling 2-step verification. If you have 2-step verification turned on, Google will send a passcode to your mobile phone when someone tries to sign in to your account from an unfamiliar computer. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential attacker still can’t sign in to your account because they don’t have your phone. Now you can protect yourself with something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone).

Learn more

Access your settings by clicking your name or picture in the right-hand corner then clicking Account.

At the top, click Security. In the Password box, click Setup next to “2-Step verification.”

You will then see a step-by-step guide which will help you through the setup process.

You’ll then be taken back to 2-step verification settings. Review your settings and add backup phone numbers.

You’ve finished! Next time you sign in, you’ll receive an SMS with a verification code.

Chrome

Browse the web in private

You can use Incognito Mode in the Chrome browser on your computer, tablet or phone to browse the web privately. In Incognito Mode, the pages that you visit and files that you download aren't recorded in Chrome’s browsing or download history.

Learn more

Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar → Click New Incognito Window.

A new window will open with the incognito icon in the corner. To exit, simply close the window.

Google Accounts

Your Google Account, your way

On your Account settings page, you can see services and information associated with your Google Account and change your security and privacy settings.

Learn more

Access settings by clicking your name or picture in the right corner, then clicking Account.

Google Accounts

Get an alert if your name appears on the web

Me on the Web can help you understand and manage what people see when they search for you on Google. It helps you set up Google Alerts so you can monitor if information about you appears online, and it automatically suggests some search terms that you may want to keep an eye on.

Learn more

Sign in to your Google Account and navigate to the “Me on the Web” section.

Click Manage my Web Alerts, and then click the red button to create an alert.

Your name will show up in the text field. Click the text field to view more suggested alerts.

Click Add to add an alert. Click the pencil icon to make edits and the bin icon to delete.

In the “How often” drop-down, choose the frequency of alerts.

Google Accounts

Manage the data stored in your Google Account

Google Dashboard shows you what's stored in your Google Account and provides an overview of some of your recent account activity. From one central location, you can easily view your data and activity and access your settings for services such as Blogger, Calendar, Docs, Google+ and more.

Learn more

Visit Dashboard to see a summary of the data associated with your Google Account and manage your personal settings.

From here, see and manage data stored in your Google Account.

See more safety tools