How do I force Google to ignore my recovery phone number?
November 17, 2023 2:29 PM   Subscribe

I can't get into my alternative Google account (even though I have the password and access to the recovery email address) and I feel like Google's completely screwing me on this. Halp!

I've had this email address since 2005, and I use it a lot for personal / job search stuff, so I'd really prefer not to lose it. It forwards to my main GMail account so I haven't had to log in for a long time, but now Google is going to start deleting inactive accounts so it's going to be on the chopping block.

Here are the facts:
  • I do have the account password.
  • I do have access to the recovery email. (This is not a GMail address.)
  • I do not have access to the recovery phone number. (Why? Because it was my Google Voice number, and I missed the notice that Google was about to delete that for inactivity!)
  • I do not have a recovery code. As far as I know I did not enable two-factor auth on this account, although maybe I did.
  • I do not have this account linked with my main account -- it honestly never occured to me, since this used to not be a feature. It does forward to my main account.
What happens when I log in (with my password that I know is correct -- it's in LastPass) is that Google forces me to two-factor with my phone number -- the Google Voice number I no longer have access to! There is absolutely no option for email recovery. I feel Google's screwing me at least five ways here:
  1. By removing my Google Voice account for inactivity and only sending one notice about it
  2. By not allowing me to recover with my email address
  3. By not correlating their services and recognizing that the recovery phone number is now defunct
  4. By threatening to remove my unattended-but-still-used account for inactivity
  5. By not actually having customer service, who could easily clear all this up
I seemingly have only two weeks to resolve this, since they're threatening to remove the account on December 1.

Is there any way at all to force Google to use email instead? Or get in touch with a human being who could easily fix this?
posted by neckro23 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Google's completely screwing me on this" should be their company slogan. I can't help you, and I can tell you that I know a few people who have gotten locked out of their Blogger websites, Gmail accounts, etc., spent months trying to resolve it and never came close. Google will not talk to you, ever. Your best bet will probably be to search the Google forums and see if you can find some other user who had the same problem and figured out a workaround, or somebody who can do amateur tech support for you. But I'd say, don't get your hopes up about fixing this.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:41 PM on November 17

Response by poster: I'm now getting this lovely email from Google: "The password to your linked Google Account was found in a non‑Google data breach." Not sure if the "non-Google data breach" is my own attempts to get in, or if they're waiting until now to tell me.
posted by neckro23 at 2:49 PM on November 17

Best answer: Check your memail.
posted by potrzebie at 3:37 PM on November 17 [2 favorites]

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