I recently went to set up Twitter, and found my email taken by a suspended account. I got the account reinstated, and there’s Arabic and Russian writing on it and recent posts! I’m not having much luck with Twitter support, but I just want to shut it down. Problem is, I don’t know the password, even though it’s my email address!
As with any criminal activity, the best thing to do is to stay calm and think about all your options. In this instance the first step is to ensure that your email account is secure. To do that, change your email password. Before you do, however, double check in your filters or mail rules (if you’re on a service like Google Mail) that there’s not some sort of auto-forward of any of your mail to another, unknown email address. If there is, it’s possible that the bad guy started by putting in a rule to forward all password recovery email messages so he’d see it but you wouldn’t.
Then change your password. Use a good password and if the service has two-step verification as a possibility (as Gmail does, for example) then enable that too: even with your password the bad guy wouldn’t be able to log in to your account without also having your cellphone in hand. When you get this all straightened out, by the way, you absolutely should also enable 2-step account verification for your Twitter account too!
Most likely, however, your email is clear and there are no mysterious or dangerous filters or rules in place. So let’s switch to Twitter and look at what you can do there.
The key, of course, is that you have access to your email address. With that you can simply recover your “forgotten” password, set it to something new, and you’ll be good to go.
First off, go to the Twitter home page. On the top right you’ll see this:
Click on “Log In” even though you don’t actually know your password. That’s okay.
You’ll see this:
Click on Forgot password? to proceed…
Here’s where you can just enter your email address to proceed.
You’ll see one or more options. If there’s an unrecognized cellphone or other contact, don’t worry, you can remove those once you’re logged in to the account.
I’ll just have the reminder emailed to me…
Once you click Continue you’ll get an email message from Twitter with a link that lets you log into your account.
Don’t freak out about what’s already on the account in terms of the Arabic or Russian, you can fix or delete that stuff later.
For now, just look on the top right and click on the profile photo to bring up the account menu:
As you can see, choose “Settings” and now you can change your account password:
You know the current temporary password, change it again. Or, if you want, you can also just delete the account entirely from the Settings area, then sign up for a new account from scratch. That’ll make sure there aren’t any weird settings that might cause you to lose the account again.
And be careful out there!