Over the last two days, I have spent a combined total of about 1.5 hours trying to figure out what my password is on two separate accounts. Back in the day when signing up for online accounts I used the same 5-character password for each new one. As more and more business was done online, the requirements for passwords kept changing – 6 required characters, letters and numbers, 8 required characters with letters and numbers, 8 required characters with letters and numbers and at least on capital letter. Which is where my problem lies. With each new account requirement, my password changed slightly – adding a number, adding 2 new numbers, making one of my letters a capital. How are you supposed to keep that straight!?!? So far, I have for the most part. Usually I try my regular one and if that doesn’t work, one of those variations does.
However, this summer when I moved from cable TV to satellite TV and changed wifi providers I got myself into a bit of quandary when I was asked to also provide pin numbers for phone calls and account access online…in addition to the passwords. Oh for crying out loud.
When I went online to pay the wifi bill yesterday, I was asked for my password. I tried my regular one, but that didn’t work. Then I tried my next regular one which also failed to work. I started to second guess myself and wondered if I needed to use one of those pin numbers. When the first pin didn’t work a message popped up saying that after three attempts I was only getting one more before I was locked out of my account. I panicked a little…I still had three more password and one more pin option to go. Rather than risk getting locked out, I clicked on the “forgot password” option and figured I’d just have it emailed to me. After completing the form I received another message that a temporary password was being sent to me THROUGH THE US MAIL. What? And because of that, the password was reset and because of that, almost immediately, my email stopped working because the password stored in Outlook was now invalid. There was no way I was going to wait 5-7 days to get back online. Luckily, after spending 15 minutes getting an actual person on the phone, the fix was fairly painless (thankfully I remembered the telephone pin).
For some reason, iCloud wanted me to enter my password on both Apple devices this afternoon. I haven’t had to enter that password since setting up the account on the iPad. Again, I tried the series of passwords that I usually try and got locked out after the third one. This time, I was allowed to change it as long as I answered the security questions correctly. The thing is, I remembered all my answers, but didn’t remember the exact wording. For my favorite teacher did I use just the last name or “Mr.” in front of it? For my favorite car, did I use the make and model or just the make? Did I capitalize any of it? I tried various answers and after three incorrect ones had to start over. I thought another phone call to customer service was in store, however after the fourth or fifth time I figured out the correct combination (although I don’t remember what that was for the life of me).
I have a very good memory, but this is all just too much. I understand the need for protecting account identity, but who has time for it when it takes this long? It’s getting to the point that the hackers are going to be the only ones who can access my accounts. I don’t know how they expect people to keep track of it all. I keep threatening to make a list of what username and password I use for each account, but that’s probably not very safe. It’s too bad there isn’t a central place we can just sign up with a username and password unique to each accountholder that is used for EVERYTHING. That would make remembering so much easier.