Proving you’re you when you can’t prove you’re you.
You probably can’t.
While the original question refers to a specific service — TikTok — the answer is the same for all of them.
Your options are few to non-existent.
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Deleting an account you can't log in to
The ability to log in to an account is how you prove you have the right to delete it. If you can’t log in, then recovering access and the ability to log in is the first step. If you can’t recover access to your account, you can’t delete it.
If you can’t log in, you can’t delete
In order to delete an account, you need to prove you are the rightful owner.
If that weren’t the case, anyone could delete any account at any time. Obviously, only the owner of an account should be able to delete it.
How do you prove you’re the owner? By logging in.
If you can’t log in to the account, you can’t delete the account. You wouldn’t want it any other way.
To delete your account, you must first recover access to your account. You do that by following the “Forgot my password” or “Can’t log in” or equivalent link on the service’s log-in page.
Follow the instructions to recover access to your account. Once you have access, you can delete the account if you still want to.
Most of those instructions begin with a request that you provide your email address. If you can’t remember the email address with which you set up the account, or you’ve lost access to that email address, you have a problem.
Email + password = identity
Your email address combined with your password is, as far as the service is concerned, your identity. If you can’t access the email address you used to create the account, then you can’t prove who you are to the service in question.
You’ve lost your identity.
Without it, there is no way to prove you are who you say you are.
There’s no way to prove you have the right to delete the account.
Straws to grasp at
Some services have additional recovery methods, but almost all must be set up beforehand and kept current.
You might get a recovery code sent to an alternate email address or phone, if the service supports that.
You might get friends on the service to somehow confirm you are who you say you are and should be given access to the account, if the service supports that.
The bottom line is there is no magical back door. All the recovery options start in the same place: “Forgot my password” or its equivalent.
Follow that path to recover your account. Follow it carefully and as completely as you can.
If none of the options work for you for whatever reason, then the account is no longer yours. Abandon it and get on with your life.
Besides getting on with your life, it might be wise to learn from this event so as not to repeat it. That means:
- Never forget your email address. Save it someplace safe if it’s not something you use often. Use a password vault like LastPass to remember for you. (Just don’t forget your master password — that cannot be recovered.)
- Don’t let your email address expire from lack of use. Log in once in a while to make sure it still works and is current. Nothing’s worse than remembering it only to realize you no longer have access to it.
- Don’t forget your password. Use that password vault.
- Set up recovery information, like alternate email addresses and phone numbers, and keep them current.
- Take it all seriously.
That last point might be the most important. I hear this scenario most often from folks — often kids — who haven’t yet learned how important all this is, and set up an account “just for fun”. Eventually that “for fun” account becomes important to them. Then when something happens, they lose access.
Don’t let that be you.