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How to find all your forgotten online accounts

It’s not great to have a bunch of abandoned profiles. Here’s what to know.

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Image: Unsplash

Over the years, most internet users have signed up for a near-countless number of accounts, from banking to forums to social media and everything in-between.

Do you log into all of your accounts regularly? How about checking to see if old accounts are still active, or even if the websites exist today? Can you remember which websites you have accounts on, especially those older ones before the days of password managers?

You might want to check which accounts are attached to your email, especially if it’s an older email you don’t use much anymore. Closing any accounts you’re no longer using reduces the chance your old accounts will get hacked and used for malicious purposes. If you want to keep them, changing the email to one you use and updating the password to a stronger, unique one is a good idea.

Here are some ways to track down those accounts based on your email address or phone number.

Here are some great ways to find those forgotten online accounts

Whether you can remember email addresses, usernames, or phone numbers, we’ve got you covered for finding those accounts you’ve forgotten about.

Find any accounts linked to your email

apps with access to your account page from a google account
Image: Google

Using Single Sign-on through Google makes things easy when you want to set up accounts, but did you know it also makes it easy to find out which accounts you own? Head on to your My Account page and click on the Security section on the left pane. That’ll show you any third-party apps that you signed in with Google, and also any websites that you did the same with.

If you don’t recognize any of those, it’s easy to disconnect them by clicking on the name, then on Remove Access.

Check your social sign-ins

social media being looked at by ftc
Image: Unsplash

One of the other easy ways to sign up for services is using your social media account. That can leave you open to leaking more information than you wanted to though, so it’s time to check which permissions those services asked for when you signed up.

Going to the list of apps and websites you’ve signed in will usually let you limit which parts of your data you share, as well as the option to remove any services you don’t use anymore.

Check your inbox for account verification emails

Sign into your email account and head for the search function. We’re looking for any verification emails for services, so try something like subject:verify in the search box.

You can also try variations of this, or things like “account verification” although that might also bring hits from your spam folder.

Use a third-party app to do the heavy lifting

If working with search terms in your email inbox isn’t your thing, you can always get another app to do it for you. Just know that you’re letting something sift through your emails, which might not be advisable for multiple reasons.

Deseat indexes your inbox then gives you a nice list of every account you’ve signed up for with that email. The really handy thing is that list has a Request Removal button next to each service, so you can easily email any company with a data removal request.

Use your username to find all associated accounts

namechk main page
Image: Namechk

If you use the same username across multiple services, you can use Namechk to help you find any accounts you can’t remember. It’s really for finding out if your desired username is taken on common services like social media, but you can put your username into the checker and get a list of every one of your real accounts to check against your known list.

Check your browser’s saved accounts

google chrome password save menu
Image: Google

Modern web browsers usually have a password cache, so you don’t have to fill in passwords you regularly use by hand. That’s handy, but it’s also a possible security issue.

Head into your browser’s settings to find any accounts you may have forgotten about, and while you’re here, migrate those passwords to a password manager and remove them from your browser cache.

  • Chrome: Head to Settings > Auto-fill > Passwords. You’ll be able to scroll through all your saved logins, change any details, or delete them if you don’t want them saved in your browser
  • Firefox: Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Login and Passwords > Saved Logins
  • Edge: Head to Settings > Profile > Passwords
  • Safari: Open the Safari menu > Preferences > Passwords. You’ll have to sign in with Touch ID or your user password or use your Apple Watch.

One last thing to note

Now you’ve gone through all of this trouble to find all your old accounts, isn’t it a good idea to make sure you never have to do this again?

If you don’t already have a password manager to keep all of your accounts in one place, it’s time to sign up for one, preferably one of the better-known ones like NordPass or 1Password.

Have any thoughts on this? Any other tips you’d like to add? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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