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Help patrons avoid account lockouts

Photo of some locks that are not digital

It's rough to get locked out of a Google, Yahoo, or other web mail account. Help your patrons avoid the hassle by encouraging them to set account recovery options for any web mail accounts they create and keep them up to date.

While logged into email, look under account settings for options like contact information, password-reset information, or security information. Once you find the right settings, there may be options to add mobile phone numbers and alternate email addresses (to receive a text/email message with a password reset code) or security questions (to answer if all else fails).

Remind patrons to check up on these settings from time to time. People change phone numbers, email addresses, and sometimes even security question answers.

Two-step verification is an additional login security option that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo recommend. Turning it on for an account does strengthen security, but it can also cause difficulties if the patron does not have consistent access to a mobile phone or alternate email address. Be extra careful to add backup options for two-step verification and keep them up to date too.

Public service staff: how do you help patrons recover from account lockouts at your library?

Thanks to staff at Oregon Public Library for suggesting this topic!

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