The Dallas Morning News
Write down your passwords in case you forget them
Igot a call from a relative this week about an email problem. The call wasn’t unusual, but the problem was a doozy.
After filling out a political survey online, this relative was receiving a follow up email message from the survey website.
One follow up message isn’t bad, but she was getting one message per minute and it had been going on for more than a day.
You might think this is a column about spam and how to stop it, but it’s not really.
She was asking how to stop the emails, and my only thought was to log into her email account and set up a rule to block all messages from the sender.
That’s not a hard thing to set up, but it does require logging in to the web mail client.
I knew how to help because she and I both have AT&T for our internet provider.
In the AT&T Yahoo! Mail web page, you can select an email and then choose “Block” from the “More” menu at the top of the message list.
You’ll be asked if you are sure you want to block all messages coming from that sender and whether you want to remove any messages already in your inbox.
Saying yes to both of those will get rid of all the messages and block them forever. But wait...
Instead of an easy fix, my relative had a bit of a problem.
She accesses the internet from an iPad, and after she set it up to remember her email credentials, she forgot the password.
This isn’t good.
Take this as a written reminder to write down your important passwords and keep that information in a place you can find when you really need it.
I realize keeping a written copy of your password information isn’t exactly secure, but if you take some care to store it where it’ll be safe, I think you’ll be OK.
Perhaps write everything in a small notebook and keep it somewhere in the house away from your computer.
To be fair, my relative did have a written list of her logins and passwords, but for some reason, her email account wasn’t on that list.
You can always reset your password by clicking the “I forgot my password” link on the login page. This isn’t a bad option, as you need to reset the password anyway if you can’t remember it.
You might be able to reset the password yourself, depending on the provider.
In our case this week, the only option was to get a temporary password via snail mail or answer security questions.
We tried the questions, but she didn’t remember the answers.
The other option was to reach out to AT&T technical support for help resetting the password.
As it was getting late, she opted to do that the next day.
So think about your online accounts. Do you know all the logins and passwords, or do you rely on your browser or email program to remember for you?
When I’m helping people with their computer problems, you wouldn’t believe how many don’t know their email passwords or the password to their Wi-Fi network.
Even if you use a password manager, it’s good to write everything down as a backup. Do it now before you find yourself in a situation where you need them.