Proton Mail makes it easy for anyone in the world to create a free and secure email account. Our service has dramatically expanded access to secure encryption. However, like any email service, it can be abused by scammers and criminals.
We use algorithms that scan behavior indicators and anonymized usage data to identify and quickly disable abusive and fraudulent accounts automatically. We also use human verification checks when new users set up Proton Accounts, but none of these methods are foolproof.
In rare instances, there are false positives. If you believe your account was disabled inappropriately, we understand the frustration and apologize for any inconvenience. This article explains why your account may have been disabled and how you may be able to restore access.
Why accounts get disabled
Our algorithm looks for common characteristics of spam and fraudulent accounts. For instance, an account with “Proton Mail Support” in the display name will likely be disabled because it’s impersonating an official contact. We combine dozens of other parameters, which we cannot disclose. We do not (and cannot) scan messages, which are end-to-end encrypted(new window).
We also review reports of spam, abuse, and bulk and scripted signups, as well as harassment from other users, including those submitted through our report phishing feature. We will disable any accounts found to violate our terms and conditions.
How legitimate accounts may get disabled accidentally
Our anti-abuse system automatically identifies accounts that are abusive and disables them. This may happen soon after the accounts are created, as we need to block them quickly before spammers can use them to harass or scam others.
However, automated system action can lead to false positives. Sometimes the system wrongly classifies a legitimate account and disables it.
Paid accounts can also be disabled if the payment method used has been reported for fraud. Spammers typically use stolen credit cards to pay for Proton Accounts. If we receive a report about a fraudulent payment and confirm it, we will disable the account and refund the payment.
We also see cases where a user doesn’t recognize a charge from us and disputes the payment with their financial institution. When this happens, the account is automatically disabled, and, depending on the payment method, an additional charge may be applied to re-enable the account.
How to prevent your account from being disabled
One way to avoid account deactivation is to make sure your emails appear legitimate and are not mistaken for spam by your recipients.
We receive many reports of unsolicited messages. If many unsolicited messages come from one account, we may disable that account.
How to restore your account when it’s disabled
If you think your account has been disabled by mistake, please contact us via our abuse appeals form.
Our Anti-abuse Team will review your case and restore your account if it hasn’t violated our terms and conditions. Once your inbox is restored, you’ll regain access to all your emails, contacts, and other encrypted files.