The Inquirer-Home

Why you can be locked out of GMail

Basically, if it looks suspicious, you're toast
Thu Feb 01 2007, 00:51
WEB SEARCH king of the universe, Google, has re-enabled this scribbler's e-mail account, after being locked down for no clear reason yesterday.

A Googleworker bee, surely from that elusive dark corner of the Googlesphere dubbed "Sector Four", wrote back telling me to sit back and enjoy life, all is well. However, by reading the surely canned response, the reasons that led to the "account lock down" can be so many that one wonders how most of the GMail accounts are still working. For instance, "having several mail sessions active", how is that wrong? I do that all the time!.

Here goes the spokesgoogle's response, unedited:

Thanks for your report. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience.
For your security, we may temporarily disable access to your account if
our system detects abnormal usage. It will take between one minute and 24
hours for you to regain access, depending on the behaviour our system

Abnormal usage includes, but is not limited to:

- Receiving, deleting, or popping out large amounts of mail (via POP) in a
short period of time
- Sending a large number of undeliverable messages (messages that bounce
- Using third party file-sharing or storing software, or software that
automatically logs in to your account and that is not supported by GMail
- Multiple instances of your mail account opened
- Browser-related issues. Please note that if you find your browser
continually reloading while attempting to access your inbox, it is likely
a browser issue, and it may be necessary to clear your browser's cache and

If you feel that access should not have been disabled, please visit for
troubleshooting tips.


The Google Team

So now you know, be careful what you do with Greasemonkey, do not use third party file storing software -I didn't, my GMail account is 85% full with mailing lists messages already!-, do not have multiple instances of your GMail account opened, do not receive, delete or pop-out (?) large amounts of mail in a short period of time. Do not write to people whose email messages have changed, do not hit reload repeatedly, and under no circumstances enter the elusive Sector Four at the Googlesphere, as it does not, in fact, exist. {insert Twilight Zone theme music here}. µ

See also
"Lockdown in Sector Four"! - aka Google kicked me out of my GMail account


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