Topics for these articles are often inspired by the number of calls I receive on a topic. Lately,I have had a bunch of people who have lost access to their email account. The main culprit is attempts by hackers to gain access to their account and thus to their private information and the people they communicate with. It can also happen when you update or replace your computer and are unable to remember the password that you haven’t had to use for months or years because your email program remembered it for you.
Most email companies have a policy that,if a certain number of attempts to access the account are unsuccessful (usually 3 consecutive tries),the account will be locked until you verify that the person trying to access it is the person who owns it. This verification process can be confusing and troublesome. The first thing they will do is ask if you want your password sent to your email address. This seems kind of dumb,considering the reason you need it is because you can’t access your account,but often people do have access from another computer.
The next possible approach they will suggest is to send your password to an alternative email address. The only problem with this is you have to be sure that you have added a current alternative address to your account. A number of clients have tried to use this recently only to find that the account they listed as their alternative no longer exists or they have lost the password to it. You should check to see that your information is up to date. If you don’t have an alternative account,there are many places you can create a free email account such as Yahoo,gmail,hotmail,live,etc. Just be sure you write the information for that account somewhere you can find it since it won’t be used a lot.
A comparatively new approach to account verification is to use your cellular phone number to send you a text with a code you can enter to access your account or change your password. This of course only works if you have set up this information in your profile for the email program.
Both of these methods often require that you answer some personal questions such as mother’s maiden name,high school you attended,first pet’s name,etc. You must have already created these answers in your profile for that program of this feature will not be available. Try not to use answers that may change over time (such as your favorite food or color) unless you are sure it will stay the same. You may also have to enter some text from one of those boxes that make it hard to read the text you are supposed to type in. Some are impossible to read but you can try a new text by clicking the curved arrow near the box.
It is a good idea to update your information regularly and keep a written record of your user names and passwords in a safe place. It’s also good to change your passwords every few months at least. And as always,remember to back up anything important to you.
Shaun McCausland has worked in the computer industry for over 30 years,20 years of it locally with Bits ‘N’Bytes and Musicomp and currently does in-home and on-site computer consultation,service,training and repair. If you have questions you can reach him at 435-668-7118 or through his website at www.bitsnbytescomputers.com.