Table of Contents
The Short Version
You must, if at all possible, maintain access to your old email address. Every day we encounter people who can no longer log into a service, such as Facebook, because the account is using an old email address.
They may not even be aware of because its been so long ago that they had to log in. We've had customers who changed email addresses 5 years ago. One day, out of the blue, they can't log into Facebook. They enter their "new" email address over and over and wonder why nothing works.
In fact, their Facebook account is using an old email address. The password has been saved in the computer all these years and never had to be re-entered. The little post-it note the password was jotted down is long gone or faded so badly that it's unreadable.
Substitute "Facebook" with any other service, such as banking, and prepare for a long period of misery. We will spend hours every day wading through login issues. It could all be avoided by keeping clear, printed documentation regarding accounts, passwords, secret questions, answers, etc.
We'll use Facebook as an example, but it could be any internet service. To view your Facebook you must enter an email address or phone number along with a password.
- You fire up your computer, laptop, phone, tablet, or whatever to view your Facebook, like has been done a thousand times before.
- But, it's different this time. Facebook won't show the normal stuff you see. In fact, it seems to be asking for a login of some sort. You know for a fact you don't have an account or password. Facebook has always, just, worked.
- In fact, you DO have an account AND a password. You, or someone else, entered it in the past and told the computer to save it, and that was the end of it. Chances are nothing was documented regarding what was used to create the Facebook account.
- You make some guesses. No luck. You get locked out. You try the "Forgotten Password" option and see some email or phone number you don't recognize or haven't used in years. (For now, we are assuming your account was not "hacked", which is rare).
- You give us a call. From there, with whatever information you can offer, we try and get into your account. You might think you can call someone at Facebook and they will tell you the password. No. It's a free service with no human tech support. Best you can do it automated.
We find, through various means, that the account being used is an old email address no longer accessible. You might try using your phone number only to find that your current cell phone number was never entered into your Facebook account, so it's useless.
There are various steps that we take to recover any user account for any service. They all vary depending on what we are trying to log into. Keep in mind that because nothing was written down, it can sometimes take days to get it working.
In some rare instances, the account is lost and cannot be recovered. We can't stress this enough, always keep access to old email addresses and keep clear documentation.
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