In the earliest days of the internet, Geoff Harper made what seemed like a logical decision: to use his work email account for all correspondence, both professional and personal.
When he changed jobs 17 years later, he lost access to that email address and with it the account’s vast archive of notes from friends and family. He also lost the ability to log in to many websites.
“It was a crazy nightmare,” says Harper, 53, of Dallas. “You just don’t realize everything in today’s world is tied to your email. When I’m on a website and forget my password, when I try to change the password, the system demands I verify my identity by an email that’s sent to my old address. It’s been five years since I switched, and I still can’t get into some things.”
Changing an email address is a hassle. Yet sometimes we need to do it, be it for cutting the cord from your cable TV account that includes a free email address, moving to a new city where your provider is not offered or just freeing yourself from a spam-ridden account and starting fresh. But taking the effort to switch effectively is worth it.
Here are four steps that can lessen the pain: