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I'm trying to verify my account as:

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/114129?hl=en

Now, I can login to gmail and send and receive messages. However, I cannot update the verification phone number as that will just loop back into verifying an old phone number which isn't mine anymore.

Nor am I able to answer the poorly chosen secret question. In any event, there's no prompt for the secret question.

I have access to the alternate e-mail account shown in security options.

context:

The account isn't using MFA in any regard, I just login to gmail with the password. It's a rarely used account. What I found was that in trying to use thunderbird or a few other services that Google is reporting that my account activity looks suspicious in some regard and so they're wanting to verify with SMS -- which would be fine, but it's a very old number.

It took me a few tries to remember the password, which is probably what triggered Google to disable additional access to things such as thunderbird pending 2-factor-authentication.


Is it possible to get through to a person, explain that the phone number on file is old and ask Google to authenticate using the alternate e-mail?

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Google live person support offering have varied from time to time and the availability have depended on several factors. AFAIK several of them were not officially disclosed but people commented that some contact options were available for some but not for others.

The first thing to try is to follow the account recovery instructions in the Google sign in page. Once you have tried thoroughly this checkout carefully the Google Accounts help center, next try the Google Accounts community as Product Experts might escalate your case. There is no warranty that a Google agent will contact someone posting on the Google Accounts community.

Another thing to try is to check the Google One offering as they offer additional support features through this paid program. I'm not sure that they will agree to give live support for recovering an account that was not registered previously in the program.

Related

Resources

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Is it possible to get through to a person, explain that the phone number on file is old and ask Google to authenticate using the alternate e-mail

No. You will need to use Google's process for recovering access to your account.

You can access Google's Troubleshooter here: Can't sign in to your Google Account You may have to wait a number of days to regain access depending on the trust factor of the device you try to recover the account from as well as the security protections you implemented to protect you from being hacked.

If you recorded the one time passwords that were generated by Google when you setup MFA in case you ever didn't have access to your phone that is also a route in that will save time.

Google Support: Tips to complete account recovery steps

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  • I'm not using MFA but rather referring to the secret questions. Oct 16 '21 at 3:22
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    I added a link to some tips. It shows how Google establishes 'trust.' You should brainstorm and leverage anything in the list (e.g. familiar device & location) that you haven't yet tried in order to raise level of trust. The more (and the more valuable) 'boxes' that you can check, the more likely you are to get back in quickly. You don't seem to have done anything wrong but you can't establish that given Google's approach. I'm sorry for your pain. I went through this with an Apple account and had to wait almost two weeks and it is frustrating. Oct 17 '21 at 21:53
  • dude, this is the modern world. I rate my chances of getting through to a person as slim to none. At the time I though to myself "oh, yeah, that's an easy one" but didn't consider that I might lose access to data for various reasons. Anyhow. Oct 18 '21 at 3:30
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    You are actually rating your chances of getting through to a person higher than I am. Oct 18 '21 at 3:40

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