It is amazing to me how many passwords I now have to keep track of, and how many I never even use.  As a start up business, I have added dozens to my already-large list of online accounts, because you have to register and set up a profile every time you need some kind of number or license or approval or plain ol’ information.  Two things that happened to me today highlight the frustrations I’ll bet many of you can relate to.


I cleaned my office yesterday.  I just won 5 books in an auction over the weekend, I’m preparing a proposal, working on a contract, working on a showcase speech for a class I’m in, and collecting handouts from various networking or educational programs I’ve been attendinmessy desk (2)g. It’s getting out of hand.  The biggie, though, was it’s getting to year end and taxes will be have to be filed. I was behind on updating my Quicken so needed to reconcile my checkbooks.  To get online, of course, I needed a password for Quicken. Then I needed the password for the bank account.

I have all my passwords on an Excel spreadsheet which is printed out and is now 3 pages long. Each page also has multiple handwritten entries on it. I finally got my bookkeeping taken care of, three hours later.  Guess what happened when I cleaned up and filed the receipts and other miscellaneous papers?  Yessirree, Bob, I somehow filed away my password list.  Which I discovered when I went through email this morning and found a notice that I have to update one.  So I rifled through files and drawers (resulting in a few new stacks of papers) until I found it.  Whew! Mission accomplished after only ten minutes, but I wasn’t happy with myself.


So my Dun & Bradstreet password will expire next week and I need to update it since 90 days are almost up since the last update.  Seems easy enough, right?  Wrong!  Rules: 8-15 characters, 1 upper case, 1 lower case, 1 symbol, and can’t be one you have used in the last 10 password changes! Oh, and it can’t contain your name or the name of your business or any part thereof.  No problem, I have only had one password so far.  But uff-da!

First I had to update my profile to change the password. I got in okay, I put in a new password that met all the requirements, I confirmed it.  Then I tried to <enter>, and I was asked if I wanted to delete my account. Of course not! But there was no button to allow me to <Next> or anything else. After a few tries, I said Yes, and I started over.  Now I had to create an account again. But I already existed.

So the system wants me to verify my identity and asks me, among other things, to associate a name in my background somehow with a state.  The problem was that the name offered is associated with 2 states offered. I chose the wrong one. I was given a chance to try again.  This time I was asked to select which house number is associated with my past, but none of the options were any of my previous addresses. It also asked me to select the name of the subdivision I live in, but again, none of the options are where I live, or have lived. And then I was locked out.

So I called the Help Desk. They should be able to help me, right? Well, not exactly.  It turns out I deleted my profile, which I told them I had. They also told me I had given the wrong verification information, which I told them I had and why. They told me I can now fill out a paper form, have it notarized, and mail it in, which they will process, which I declined.  Last option: I can wait 90 days (so March 7) and try again.  This is help??!??  I said I’ll wait the 90 days, since I haven’t used this account anyway in the past 90 days.


The lessons learned:

  1. Treat your password list with care.  I don’t have a backup copy because then I wouldn’t be inclined to ever look for a lost one, which could be bad.note_taking_high_res
  2. Even if you have a rotation of names you use, write them down somewhere because changing a password every 90 days and not being able to use one you have used in the last 10 times (=nearly 3 years).
  3. Call for Help before you hit the button that says you’ll be deleting and have to start over.
  4. Have a cup of tea ready so that you can calm down when you disconnect.

The system obviously works the way it was designed to, and although technology is not my friend this morning, the goal of the passwords is to protect us.  It’s a shame we have come to this, but it is what it is.  Next password: 90daysRup!


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