Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Passwords, security questions, email addresses, phone numbers

Tech Talk

When your password suddenly won't work with a website or email address, there is usually a "Forgot password" link. The site may want to send a code to your phone or your recovery email address, or you'll get asked for answers to your security questions.

Sending you a text with a reset code is a great way to reset passwords. It 'proves' you're you because you have your phone, plus it's fast and easy. Some sites call the number on file and 'read' you the code if you gave them a landline instead of a cellphone number. Emailing a code or a password reset link to an alternate email address also 'proves' you're you because you can access the other email address.

But what if you don't have a cell phone, a landline, or an email address other than the one on file? Or what if you've changed your phone number or don't remember the password to your other email address?

Then you're stuck with remembering the answers to your security questions. (Where did I meet my spouse? What was the first beach I went to in high school? Do they want my first full-time job or my first part-time job? How can I remember any of my grade school teacher's names?) Maybe you, or someone else, set up the account so long ago that you don't know the answers.

If the website has no information to help reset your password, it may tell you, "Your account cannot be recovered."

If all else fails, look around the website for a support chat feature or a phone number. Maybe a person can get your password reset if the automated systems fail.

Once you get your password reset, check your profile and update everything that isn't right. Reset your security questions, ensure they have your current cell phone number, and add another email address. If you don't have another email address, how about using a trusted family member's email address?

Don't ignore security checkup prompts from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, or others, even if you don't have password issues. Verify your recovery info now to prevent problems later.

If you don't have updated recovery information, resetting passwords on Google and Microsoft can be challenging. There's no phone number to call, and they don't have a support chat. So always ensure your recovery information is current, especially for Google and Microsoft. Oh, and everywhere else, too.

Password managers

Of course, if you were using a password manager, you wouldn't forget your passwords. So, I recommend using either the LastPass or Dashlane password managers. Both offer free and paid versions, both have extensions that will auto-login to the site for you, and both will create secure passwords for you.

When you get a new computer or smartphone, a password manager makes entering your passwords for email, shopping, social media, and banking easy.

A password encounter









Sets fire to the computer.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at [email protected].