I am working with a client that has lost access to their Google account currently and it looks like they will not get it back, and I have encountered enough similar issues in the past that I felt the need to write a blog about this for our clients and anyone else that could benefit.
What Can Go Wrong?
Google are getting increasingly picky about security and while of course this is a good thing, it can cause significant issues if you’ve not checked your Google security settings recently. It is remarkably easy to lose access to your Google account now – and sometimes impossible to get it back.
If you try to log in to your Google account from a location different from your usual location, or a device different to your usual device, Google will often ask you to verify your identity. It offers several options, including a text verification or phone call to the number on your account. If the number on the account isn’t yours, you may not be able to log in from that other location, but at least you can still log in back at home as usual.
If you lose your password however and aren’t able to reset it on a device where you were already signed in, you’ll need to go through a series of questions to re-access your account. This will include your security backup phone number, email verification, the date of birth listed on the account, etc. If you can’t provide all these details you may be locked out of your account and even Google themselves (even if you phone them) will often be powerless to help you.
The main problem for many of our clients is that they either set up their Google accounts themselves, or a previous company set them up, and nobody stored the details. We set up accounts for clients (with their full control and ownership on their own email addresses) and ensure that we record the details here and send them to clients too, to cover this, but often clients have come to us with accounts already set up that are not covered in this way.
What Should You Be Doing?
Go, right now, and review your details in your Google account! Ensure that all backup emails and phone numbers on the account are yours (so they can be used by you in the event that you lose access) and ensure you have all the details such as Date Of Birth listed on your account written down somewhere safe.
In order to do this, first of all log in to Google and click on your profile image (if you don’t have an image it will be the first letter of your account name) in the top-right hand corner of Google and then click on ‘My Account’:
This will take you through to three columns, and there are several areas in here you should review. Firstly, in the middle column you can click to view your personal info:
You should note down somewhere the name, DOB, email, phone etc on your account for future reference. Keep it somewhere safe that you will remember, so if you ever lose access you’ll be able to accurately answer all Google’s security questions. If any of the details are out-dated or not yours, change them.
You can also double-check by using Google’s Security Check Up feature, in the first column here:
This will specifically review your security settings with you and ensure they are all relevant and up to date.
Losing access to your Google account can be costly, both in terms of spending time rescuing it or setting up another. In the worst case scenario where you lose access permanently, you may also end up losing important data such as historical statistics in Google Analytics and your Google Adwords accounts. So check your security settings regularly to cut out any risk, or if you’re a client of ours (or want to become one!) and need help with this just get in touch and we can assist you with this process.