“I changed all my passwords to ‘incorrect.’ So whenever I forget, it will tell me: ‘Your password is incorrect.’”
Memes like this provide much-needed laughter about passwords. Otherwise, trying to create and remember complex passwords for nearly every website you visit causes you to cry in frustration.
Have you ever forgotten your password for Facebook or your email account?
You’re not alone if you have. Over the past month, an increasing number of clients solicited my help to recover or reset forgotten passwords.
The Mistake Most People Make
Web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer offer to remember your passwords for all your websites. You let them and you never have to type in your password again for that website. It conveniently fills in your username and password each time you visit the page.
The problem occurs when your web browser must be reset. Resetting your web browser can cause Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer to forget your saved passwords.
Then when you visit a site like Facebook, you must enter your username and password.
But because the only place your password was stored was in the web browser, you can’t log in.
Thus begins the arduous and sometimes impossible task of resetting your password by answering security questions or replying to recovery emails.
Keep Your Accounts Up-To-Date
Resetting your forgotten password is much easier if you keep your email address and/or cell phone number up-to-date on various websites.
Facebook, for example, allows you the option to have a code texted to your cell phone or a recovery email sent to your email address should you lose your password. Within five minutes, you can create a new password and be on your merry way.
But some people I’ve assisted had an old email address or cell phone number configured in Facebook. They also couldn’t remember their answers to their security questions.
The result: forever locked out of that Facebook account. Forced to create a new one, re-add all their friends, and start anew.
ACTION STEP: Make sure your current email address and cell phone number are correctly configured as recovery options for all of your online accounts – Facebook, email, banking, credit cards, etc.
The Best Place to Store Your Passwords
Trying to remember zillions of different, complex passwords for different websites is mind-boggling. Keeping an up-to-date written list is practically impossible.
That’s why I strongly encourage you to use a free password management program called LastPass (www.lastpass.com).
LastPass gives you:
- Unlimited and secure storage for passwords and notes
- Automatic backup of passwords
- Automatic completion of login fields and forms
By installing a simple add-on to your web browser, you’ll have quick access to all of your passwords. You can also store credit card numbers, license numbers, insurance information, and more.
You only have to remember one master password – the one you use to log in to LastPass.
LastPass will even detect when you change your password for a website and offer to automatically update it in the program.
For a measly $1 a month, you can upgrade to LastPass Premium and have access to your passwords on all your computers and mobile devices.
Please … if you don’t take any other advice I give, at least write down your passwords in a notebook. Better yet, put them in LastPass.