E-mails are as private as postcards it only takes a hacker to steal your password either by Phishing, Hacking into your system or even hacking a website that you are registered on and downloading the user database. Once a hacker gets into your inbox it’s a matter of time for him to download all your emails to his hard drive and even if you change your password by then it’s already too late.
To protect yourself, always delete sensitive emails once you have read them or ask your recipient to do so. Change your password frequently and use different passwords for different email accounts. Also Never set your secret answer (from the password recovery secret question feature) to something everybody could guess i.e What city do I live in? Answer: Dubai.Avoid using public WiFi's. Finally make sure your alternative email address for the password reset is an email you use and not an old email account that got closed down.