This morning I sent another group of emails to the addresses I received, figuring I’d give them an hour to send me even one response or let me know human eyes had seen them.
Within 15 minutes, I received the following:
We have completed our investigation and we are re-enabling your access to this account. The account settings have been restored to the first name, last name, and secondary email address that you provided.
We sincerely apologize for what you have experienced in this regard and appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
Right behind that, I received a message the person I addressed my email to (with ccs to a bunch of others) was no longer with Google.
I followed the instructions in the email and was able to re-activate my account. My email was intact, including the numerous test messages I’d sent from other accounts over the last couple of days.
Based on the ticket number that was referenced on the email, I’d say it was a response that came out of the emails I sent, because it didn’t match the ticket numbers of the earlier emails where I’d sent responses about what I’d been doing when access was denied.
Here’s what I’ve done as a fail-safe, going forward:
- All mail sent to GMail is also being forwarded to a separate email address with my ISP known only to me
- I changed my password to one that included letters, numbers and characters in random order
- I changed my security question to one that couldn’t be accessed by research or guesswork.
- I have downloaded all of my mail on the GMail server to my computer using Outlook.
The moral of the story, for me, at least, is to assume the worst in ALL cases. When you are storing your “stuff” on someone else’s real estate, you are at their mercy unless you have a backup plan in place. For me, GMail WAS the backup plan, but it ended up being so convenient, so reliable, and so accessible that I relied on it too heavily instead of remaining skeptical.
The happy ending in the story was only a result of blogging and the kindnesses of fellow bloggers and Flickrers. I hope I can return the favor one day.
- Google Update, Day 4
- SPF Friday – Feet