I frequently receive frantic messages from Facebook users asking how they can regain access to their accounts when they’re unable to reset their passwords.
Unfortunately, in most of those cases I’m unable to help those folks reset their passwords and get back into their accounts.
That means they have no choice but to abandon their accounts and open new ones.
People find themselves in this situation because Facebook has determined that it’s better to have some people locked out of their accounts forever than to make it easy for hackers to reset the passwords of unsuspecting users.
It always bothers me to have to tell someone I won’t be able to help them get back into their Facebook account, but unfortunately that’s just the reality we are faced with for the time being.
Now all of the above being said, there are steps you can take right now to ensure that you’ll be able to reset your Facebook password if you ever forget it or if a hacker breaks into your account and changes the password.
The thing is, these steps MUST be taken in advance!
Once your password has been forgotten or changed by a hacker, it’s too late to go back and set these security measures up because they can only be completed while you’re actually logged into your Facebook account.
The first thing you need to do is make a record of which email address (or phone number if you use the Facebook mobile app) you used to open your Facebook account. This should be the same email address or phone number you use to log into your account right now.
It’s imperative that you keep this email address and phone number active as long as you are planning to keep your Facebook account open because you’ll need to enter one of them in order to reset your password if the need to do so ever arises.
If you ever decide to change the email address or phone number you use for Facebook, make a record of the new email address or phone number and hold on to them for dear life.
Having access to that email address or phone number will be the only fool-proof way to reset your password and regain access to your account if you ever need to do so.
The second thing you need to do is to select anywhere from 3 to 5 “Trusted Contacts”.
What exactly are Trusted Contacts?
In a nutshell, Trusted Contacts are Facebook friends who you trust completely and would be willing to vouch for you and verify your identity if you ever need to regain access to your account.
Having several Trusted Contacts designated for your account will provide a second option for regaining access to your account if you find yourself without access to the Facebook-registered email address or phone number.
Trust is very important here because your “Trusted Contacts” could potentially collude allow someone to take over your account simply by clicking the “Forgot password?” link and then all of the Trusted Contacts falsely verifying that the person trying to change your password is you.
While the chances of that happening are slim, it can and does happen.
For this reason, I recommend that you choose only trusted family members and/or your very closest trusted friends to be your Trusted Contacts.
And now, a simple warning: If you ever have a falling out with one of your Trusted Contacts, you need to remove that person from your list of Trusted Contacts immediately!
Now that you know the ins-and-outs of Trusted Contacts, you can designate some of them for your account by following the steps below for the device you’re using.
If you’re using Facebook in a web browser on a laptop or desktop computer:
1 – Log into your Facebook account and click the Down Arrow icon at the right end of the menu bar near the top of the screen.
2 – Click Settings & Privacy.
3 – Click Settings.
4 – Click the Security and Login link over in the left-hand column.
5 – Click the Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out link and then follow the prompts to select your Trusted Contacts.
If you’re using the Facebook app on a mobile device:
1 – Open the Facebook app and log into your account.
2 – Tap the Menu icon (it looks like three horizontal lines stacked atop one another).
3 – Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy.
4 – Tap Settings.
5 – Tap Security and Login.
6 – Tap Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out.
7 – Tap the Choose Trusted Contacts button and then enter your Facebook password when prompted to do so.
8 – Select the friends you wish to designate as your Trusted Contacts.
That’s all there is to it. Now that you’ve made a record of your Facebook-registered email address or phone number and selected your Trusted Contacts you won’t have to worry about getting permanently locked out of your Facebook account if you ever find that your password no longer works.
Just remember to always keep your list of Trusted Contacts up-to-date and make sure each of them can indeed be trusted!
Bonus tip: This post explains how to lock your Facebook account down tight against hackers by enabling Two-Factor Authentication on your account.
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