There is really no way to fix this, is there?
March 26, 2010 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Can you help my mom? She's locked herself out of her email account.

So: This is the story as my mom tells it:

She entered what she was sure was her regular password to log into her email account. I think she may have tried a couple of times, but when she was unable to get in, she clicked the "reset password" link, only to find that the answer to her "secret question" was (apparently) not the answer she thought it was. Now she's locked out of the account, without any method for getting back in. She tried calling them last night, but since she's no longer an msn internet service customer (just kept the free email when we transferred her to a local isp) they won't help her.

Any suggestions? A different number to call? Or should she just resign herself to having lost all the data in that email account forever?

I'm half tempted to think that she's been hacked, except her old password was *very* secure and hard to guess.

posted by anastasiav to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Depending on how internet-savvy she is, dhe might have been phished, rather than having her password guessed.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:42 AM on March 26, 2010

She had a friend who lost money in a phishing scheme, so she's very wary of anyone asking for her password; I don't think that's it.

In any case, the reason isn't important right now, its important to get back in.
posted by anastasiav at 11:51 AM on March 26, 2010

Have her call them back, say "Listen, if I sign up for your internet service, will you unlock my email account and let me in? Yes? Okay, great, how soon can I cancel and how much will this cost me?"
posted by lizzicide at 11:58 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Far fetched, I know, but is there any chance that she had an alternate email set up on her account? Usually that's the second option, but she will have needed to set that up before getting locked out.

I brought my hotmail account back from the dead to try stuff out. It took me awhile before the password thing told me that "You've tried to sign in too many times with an incorrect e-mail address or password.
Sign in using another Windows Live ID
Reset your password
To sign in again match the characters in the picture."

Then trying to "guess" my secret question, it locked me out of that method after three tries, but allowed me back in after clicking on the reset option again. And FWIW, it let me back into my account even after obviously messing with it for awhile. She can probably keep trying until she can get in using her password (assuming that she wasn't hacked, of course) or remember her security question.

Other than that, this guy says that you cannot get back in once you've forgotten everything
posted by urbanlenny at 12:08 PM on March 26, 2010

See if this will get you anywhere. If she formerly paid for MSN as an ISP, that account information might validate her.
posted by sageleaf at 12:16 PM on March 26, 2010

Just to put the phishing suspicion to rest, I'd use or something similar to watch her try to login and make sure the site is actually the real site, and then possibly help her with resetting her password.

Also a fine time to update it and install Microsoft Security Essentials on her machine or another free anti-virus and maybe windows defender if she's on xp and doesn't have it.
posted by TimeDoctor at 4:28 PM on March 26, 2010

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