If you know what your contact email address is, but you've lost access to it, usually that is no problem. As long as you still know your login and password, you can just log in, go to the profile tab, and change the email address we have on file to your correct address.
The only time this becomes a problem is when you have lost accessed to your email address and you can't log in. That's a much more difficult situation. If you contact us from an email address not associated with your membership, we have no way of differentiating you from someone who set up that email address five minutes ago in your name to steal access to your membership. That's one reason why it's very important to keep your member contact email address up to date at all times. (But if you're reading this, it's probably too late for that reminder to be helpful right now, so just keep it in mind for the future.)
To resolve this situation, you will have to have us change the email address associated with the membership. However, that can only be done after completing our login recovery process. To complete this process for a lost email address, please follow these steps:
- Carefully review the list of possible recovery actions in this FAQ entry.
- Determine which of those actions you wish to perform. For lost email accounts, our failure to contact the current address must be one of the actions.
- Email us from the new email address you want to use. In your email, specify a list of which recovery actions you wish to perform. Make sure your list includes enough actions for a successful recovery. (The default is 3 but if you customized this from the profile tab, you'll have to remember that.)
- Include any documentation pertaining to the recovery actions you have chosen as attachment(s) to that email. Typically this will include a photo ID and a bank account or credit card statement.
Other requested steps will be initiated from our end as appropriate once all documentation requirements have been satisfied. After the process is complete, any personally-identifying information you provided during the recovery process will be discarded.
While completing this process, please observe the following guidelines:
- Do not attempt to use an optional recovery action that you did not set up beforehand.
- Do not send any documentation not specifically identified as acceptable.
- Do not send documentation that does not meet the requirements.
- Do not redact, crop or edit any documentation you send.
- Do not ask for any exceptions to the policy.
- Do not attempt to negotiate or argue with the recovery process.
The process typically takes 10-60 minutes of work on your part to complete. Although burdensome by Internet standards, it is typically not actually difficult unless there are extenuating circumstances. For example, if you gave us a fake name when you signed up, you're probably about to have a very bad day.
Due to the requirement that we attempt (and fail) to reach you through your current contact email address, recoveries of this type can take a long time, up to a week. Once the process is completed, we will update the email address associated with your membership to the one you used to initiate the recovery process. At that point, you will be able to recover your login information and regain access to our system.
Important: Because we don't know whether you're you, we will not help you complete the process. We will not give you hints. We will not tell you how many actions you have to complete. We will not give you any information about the status of the membership. In fact, you may find our staff unusually distant and/or unhelpful during the recovery process. To avoid leaking information, while your membership is in the recovery process, the only response to any inquiries you send will be automated messages indicating whether or not you are making progress toward recovery.
This is not personal, nor is it representative of our attitude toward helping our members. It reflects that most people who attempt the recovery process are trying to steal something, and those are people we have no interest in helping at all. That we helped them accidentally or with the very best of intentions won't be any consolation to the member we helped them steal from. So, we apologize in advance to our legitimate members for any "guilty until proven innocent" treatment they may receive while completing the recovery process. It's hard, and it sucks for everyone, but it's the right way to keep our members' stuff safe.