Time and time again, we get calls from frantic customers to say that they have forgotten their passwords and cannot access their online accounts. Similarly, email accounts can be locked for various reasons such as the email provider has noticed “suspicious activity” on your account.
Other times, companies have been hacked themselves, resulting in customer’s details being stolen. Consequently, the company locks the customers accounts to prevent unauthorised access. Entry to the website is only granted when the customer logs back into the website and changes their password.
Frequently, a new version of software for a customer’s equipment is released. Part of the upgrade is to log the customer out of their online account without their knowledge or authorisation. The customer then has to log back in order to gain access to their account.
To help regain access to these accounts, most social media or email platforms will send a reset code or email to the details listed in the accounts personal information page. This can be an email address or your cell/mobile telephone. Do NOT list a landline number, because mostly probably this cannot receive automated SMS text message reset codes!
Unfortunately, many times the customer tells us that the telephone number or recovery email addresses listed across their accounts are no longer active!
Please, please, please, whenever you change any of your contact information, amend the contact details across all of your accounts. We hear many customers say “I don’t have that email account or telephone number anymore.”
Most importantly and I cannot stress this enough, please write down your passwords and security questions and keep them in a safe place! Take care to record the password exactly as passwords are case sensitive! In other words, a lower case letter is not the same as the upper case letter i.e. the lower case letter a, is NOT the same thing as a capital letter A.
Please take the time to correctly answer any security questions that are required. We’ve had customers lie about their dates of birth for instance and then forget what they typed in when they initially signed up for the account.
It is not uncommon for you not needing to confirm details for many years of having the account and then suddenly being asked to answer questions many years later for one reason or another.
To help secure your account, your password should be at least 8 digits long and contain a Capital letter; numbers; lower case letters & special character such as ! or @. This is especially important if you use the same password across multiple accounts such as for your email and facebook.
We would also like to suggest for you to add another email address, to serve as a recovery email address, as an additional means of gaining access to your email account should the need arise. If you don’t want to sign up to another email address, you can use a friend’s or relative’s email address, with their permission of course. If you ever get locked out of your email account, you can choose to have a password reset “verification code” message sent to the recovery email address. You can then contact the owner of the recovery email address, for their help in gaining access into your email account.
Unfortunately, crooks are always trying to access your accounts for nefarious means so never click links in emails that require you to enter your username or password for any reason. If you have any doubt, call the sender of the email personally and verify what their email is telling you to do.
Finally, banks or the government, will NEVER send you requests asking for your account information.
Microsoft will NEVER contact you about problems with your account.
Webmail companies such as gmail, will NEVER send you emails telling you that your email account is about to expire. These are some of the nefarious ways that fraudsters try to get your account details. Don’t be fooled!