This little saga began Monday. I was at a staff development when I wanted to check email (Gmail.) For some odd reason it would not accept my password. I clicked through the link for password assistance. With horror I realized Gmail would use my secondary account to help me retrieve my password, and that account was dead and gone over 2 years ago. So I opted to change the password. BIG MISTAKE. The weird thing is I was able to log-in at home (using a computer that “remembers” my password, but NO WHERE else.) No, despite this picture, Gmail did not fail me, rather I failed Gmail.
“Sorry, that is incorrect password….”
I’ve spent the last two mornings at school before the actual workday began trying to retrieve my password by answering all kinds of questions and filling out forms so they (security from Google) could verify that this was indeed my account. I had to list blogs, calendar dates, other Google apps I use, labels, frequent contacts, and more, failing two days in a row to satisfy them that I was indeed the owner of that account. (It is not so easy to do that when you can’t look at it! Also factor in the ticking clock pushing me to focus on the here and now at school, and not the gmail, despite the fact there was a file there I wanted to use AT school FOR school!)
It’s a TEST!
After intense frustration this morning at school, I returned home this afternoon knowing I would be able to get in on the mac (that remembered my password) and made a list of the security things I knew I’d have to fill out on that form, FINALLY successfully passing their security test to reset my password.
Now I feel really stupid because
- I failed the Google security test twice before finally passing.
- I made that list and saved it to help in the event this happens again. (So I’m so dumb, I may need to look at it again.)
- I emailed my husband the password for the “just in case” should it happen again.
- I am confessing how dumb this made me feel.
But I can attest to the level of security Google offers in their accounts. First hand knowledge here. I was borderline panicked. I had not realized how much of my professional self is in my Google account until I did not have access to it over the last two days. Sigh. Lesson learned.
Advice for other Google users:
- Use a valid secondary email account if you can–I would suggest a spouse’s email or another valid email account.
- Add more than ONE secondary email account.
- When life hands you changes, make those changes in your account profile so the information is current, and this applies to all the online accounts you use.
- Know specific dates that you began using other Google tools–yes I was asked this!
- If like me you email files back and forth to yourself for work, USE the work account, no matter how much you like Gmail for its seemingly limitless size restrictions.
There are more specific questions, and if you need to see the form, I’m sure you can click through the sign in as if you are trying to recover a password. Then you can see all the questions asked to ensure you are indeed the owner of the account. Study for the test–just in case. I promise you won’t be sorry when it is time. Google is a fortress, without a doubt.
‘Google Ice Sculpture’
‘Joe Working within the constricts of work’s security firewall’