Would you please recover my password? My account has been hacked or I've forgotten it.

I'm asked daily to reset lost passwords, recover hacked email accounts or retrieve lost information in them. Here's my answer.

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  • Someone hacked my Hotmail account and changed my password and my secret question. I have emailed customer service for help but I haven’t gotten an answer. Can you get it back for me?
  • Someone has hacked my email address and has changed my password, my personal information and my secret question. I can’t log into my own email account! Please help me recover my password. The id that has been hacked is *****. Please rescue me.
  • I am not able to log into my Yahoo account that I’ve been using for the past 10 years. I clicked on the “forgot password” link and filled in all the details. It’s asking me for answer to my secret question – “who’s my friend?” How would I remember who would it be 10 years ago? Please reply and save a soul. I have very important information in my mails.
  • I’ve forgotten my password and the answer to my secret question. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can you send my password to *****@*****.com?

No.

There is nothing I can do. I have no way to help you.

Here is what you can do…

Somehow for whatever reason you’ve forgotten the password, the answer to your secret question and never set up, or no longer have access to the alternate email address associated with the account. Or your account has been hacked and your password, secret answer and alternate email address have all been changed.

I cannot help you.

Contact your email service provider and tell them what is happening. They should have some way of identifying you, after which they should be able to reset your password. This is typically the approach for pay services – they may verify your identity with your credit card number or some other piece of information they collected at the time you signed up.

Unfortunately, this almost never works for free accounts. Why? Because these accounts are free, there’s almost no customer support. You get what you pay for.

Let me be even clearer about that:

If:

  • You’re using a free email service such as HotMail, Yahoo, and others
  • … and you forgot or lost your password
  • … and you forgot or lost the answer to your secret question
  • … and you did not set up an alternate email address, or you lost access to the alternate email address
  • … and customer service is not responding to you

You are out of luck.

I know of no way to recover your account. I cannot help you.

You absolutely can and should try contacting customer service for the email service you are using – they are the only ones who could help you. But my experience is that they rarely do.

Learn from your mistake.

If you lose access to your account and cannot recover it, you’ll want to set up a new account. Learn from this.

  • Choose good passwords that you will remember. It’s tough, given the number of accounts and passwords we all need to remember, but the fact is choosing a hard-to-guess password, and changing it regularly are important steps you can take to avoid someone stealing your account.
  • Don’t share your password with anyone. A number of the account hacks I hear about are the result of trusting someone you shouldn’t have.
  • Remember your secret answer. I’m kind of surprised I even have to say this, but when you create an account that asks you for a secret question and answer, don’t treat it lightly. It doesn’t have to be true … just make sure it’s something you’ll remember in a year or two or ten when (not if) you have a problem.
  • Set up an alternate email address. This is where password reminders would get emailed to. And remember that if you lose access to your alternate email address, you need to change it in any accounts that reference it.
  • Don’t use “remember me” when logging in. At least, don’t use it unless you’re positive it’s safe. If someone else walks up to the computer (be it in an internet cafe, or in your bedroom or office) and “remember me” is selected … they can now login as you without knowing your password. And then they can change your password and everything else, locking you out of your own account.

And, perhaps most important of all:

  • Don’t use free email accounts for anything important.
    It’s just not worth it. If your free email account, and all the information in it went away tomorrow would that be a problem for you? If so … move. Now.

And, I’m sorry to have to say it again, but based on the number of questions I keep getting, I have to:

I cannot recover your password
or your account. I cannot email you your password.

There are 18 comments:

  1. Paula Queenie Co Reply

    Its quite unfortunate. Although I have mobile number but there is no option for resetting password through mobile number. I can’t afford to lose my account.

  2. Sunil Sharma Reply

    hello,i am using my hotmail email id since 10 years, my alternate id is updated which is only used for password change.but primary alternate id in no more available,therefore i can change my password and getting the code but now my account is blocked for security reason i given all the information best for my knowledge still my id is not unblocked… service request closed but account is blocked for security reason 134437523 ,134437523.
    as i can frequently visiting the loction please someone help me-alternate email id {email address removed}
    I can’t afford to lose my account.

    • Leo Reply

      Please read the article you just commented on. And never post your email address in a public forum.

  3. dreamgirl madhu Reply

    my password has been changed by someone and I don’t know. please help me to get back my password.

    • Mark Jacobs Reply

      If you read the article you commented on, you’ll get all the information Leo has to offer on password recovery. If that doesn’t work for you, the account might be unrecoverable.

  4. ntombizethu Reply

    Hey I have a facebook account and I’m no longer using the numbers I was using on facebook before and and now I even forgot my password and because I’m no longer using those numbers I cnt get a confirmation code please help I cnt lose my account

    • Leo Reply

      If you have lost all of your recovery information and your password, then I know of no way to recover the account.

  5. andile Reply

    i need to set up my Google account but when i use my email address for recovery email address it wont sign up. so which address must i use or created.

    • Leo Reply

      Remember that a recovery email address is an email address on a different service.

  6. Zoe Reply

    Dear Leo,
    To tell you the truth, I did not read your article, not because I have no interest, but because I have done, read, asked, and sent everything possible in order to my account activation and I have yet received no productive help. A week has passed since I can not access my account , and my situation is so complicated that every time I think I have found a solution something else comes up. Truthfully, if my life , and my job were not based on that account ( I work for promotion,advertising, and social media company) I would not put so much effort into trying so hard to recover it, and that is why I gave up on facebook’s maze of answers and putting my hope in the possibility of receiving your help, ( or advice). I am canadian, but I grew up in Mexico, my facebook account was created in 2013, and I never provided an email account, it was linked to my old phone from Mexico. That phone is disconnected now, and I have no way of accessing it.I moved to Canada in December 2013 and I hooked it up to my new number, and unfortunatley it was stolen and I disconected the line, and since then it has not been in use. I again bought a phone, which I used to access my account with the facebook app, but I never hooked it up to this number due to previous situations and again, it was stolen. I do remember that I was logged off of my account at the time, so I do not know if the hacking came from that phone. I never had to use the number as a username, nor an email, I would just type in my full name. I remember at least 5 of my old passwords, and I have been accessing it with no problem until recently when it notified me that my password had been changed on this past tuesday. I clicked on the “I dont remeber making this change” option and it took me to the page that says that I would receive a 4 digit code to the previous numbers, and I clicked that I no longer had access to them, then it took me to the provide a contact email, which I provided, at least 20 times, and still I have not received an email with instructions. I contacted facebook through a email address, and they responded telling me to provide my goverment ID, which I did. I sent in everything I could, and I received another email asking me to provide all the information I could, including the URL of my profile page, which I failed to provide since I locked my account and it is no longer visible through my friends accounts, and I also used the new HELP FROM 3 FRIENDS options, and I called them and they all said that they did not receive any email. I am desperate, you would not beleive what it is like to put all your trust into a account, all your information, and then have emergency situations, and no resource to contact friends or family to receive help. Please Leo, I know you can only do so much, but if you know of any alternative please let me know. Thank you

  7. hifza mahnoor Reply

    someone changed my fb password and i forget my yahoo pasword plz help

  8. Daniel Reply

    somebody is literally controlling my phone what do I do about it

    • Leo Reply

      Take it to the mobile company for help, or reset it to factory conditions.

  9. sumit sonawane Reply

    please help me my fb has been hacked
    and i have didn’t recieved six digit code
    on my email or fone…

  10. alicia jacobs black Reply

    I forgot my password for my facebook account and I tried everthink can you please help me

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