Google Account Recovery is f*ck$ng me
If you haven’t visited this hell yet, take a tour and read the insurance policy below. If you are currently in Google Account Recovery Hell and seeking help, this post should get you out and maybe keep you out. Or bookmark this as your Swiss Army Knife for Google Account Survival.
But first a tour: quoting from a forum post so as to preserve what will likely be removed “gmail recover says it can’t verify it’s me – spoiler alert – it is f*ck#ng me…silly sh*t would’ve never happened if those @ssh0les didn’t literally force me to change my f%ck*ng password…it just f^ck&ng p%sses off regular people trying to f$ck&ng use this piece of sh@t system. f#ck*ng f$ck.”
That is one of the oldest posts in those forums which is noteworthy – from 2017 – should have been removed already.
That kind of language is not uncommon as you will come to know if you find yourself in Google Account Recovery Hell. Clearly that kind of language wouldn’t happen if people didn’t feel helpless. Clearly the forums are not helping anyone. They are a placebo.
I have years of experience with all sorts of search engine products and procedures so I think I can add some perspective that you won’t find in the Google forums. There are good reasons why certain procedures are not transparent. Account recovery is one of those. But its not transparent for reasons that are not obvious to everyone.
Let’s start at the top to grasp what is happening (when you are in Google’s dog-house). You first need to understand that you are the product that Google monetizes. If you hit a trip-wire that Google has set, you are costing Google rather than contributing your fair share to their business model. That’s why there is no customer service number to call. Many people understand this already, but this is worth repeating outside Google’s forums because anything related to this “concept” is flushed down the memory hole. At least that is the conclusion I draw when I see that most related posts in the forums are only a few months old.
So you get these many Google services for free and Google wants something in return – every detail of your life. Again many people have heard this before, but it may not be tangible to you yet – it has not scared you yet – until you lose something valuable.
My part of this tour started when I went on a little vacation (I won’t mention where to avoid blow back and why I write this on my obscure webmaster notes blog and not my business blog) and as you can see in the screenshot, I got blocked er..disabled means BLOCKED.
I’m enough of a linux hack to know that my computer is well protected from hackers in a hotel lobby (and I checked after the fact), so I’ll let you draw the same conclusion I drew. The only thing suspicious was my location and…wait for it…
Here it is! Hidden in this forum post “I created my gmail account but deleted phone number afterwards…”
Delete or change phone numbers and the gates slam shut. (its not personal, its a computer algorithm written with intent by humans that won’t be answering your phone call for help). You will be asked to verify who you are (because of some suspicious activity).
Read the forums and you’ll find that the verification code sent to your other email address won’t get you out. I and many others jumped through that hoop (5 times). Google will say, “this verifies you own the account”. How nice. But that verification will not lift the block! With this insight, go and read the forums again. You will clearly see that none of the dozen or so “methods” Google throws at you will lift the block, but one.
The secret to getting out of the Google Gulag (or staying out of it) is to give Google what it wants, that is, everything required to track your every move. Disable Google Maps on your phone is a trip-wire. Disable Location is a trip-wire. All the other information Google has about you is not as valuable to them as your active mobile phone number.
All paths lead to your mobile phone number. Its your get out of jail card. Not without some irony, I found that they won’t accept a Google Voice number. I also tried other numbers (localphone) to no avail.
Now if you want some insurance that this does not happen again, prepare:
1) have another computer from which you have signed into your Google account. Check it before traveling or doing something outside of your normal routine.
2) setup a second Google account and forward email between the two. This way you’ll see what is happening and still get your email in the interim while blocked.
3) setup a Bing/Yahoo/Yandex email account and have your email forwarded to those as a backup.
4) migrate away from Google. They have become a monster that is to big and too powerful and doesn’t give a sh$t about stomping on you just like our benevolent Godzilla might (after all he’s is one of the good guys).