This what you should (and shouldn't) do when you have Gmail problems

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Photo via Cathy Yeulet/GettyImages (Licensed)

Don't be fooled by a hotline claiming to help you with email.

Technical difficulties happen to all of us, and one day you might be stuck without access to your email. But whatever you do, don't call a phone number purporting to be a Gmail helpline—or any other email support service. 

If you search for Gmail tech support, many results can't be trusted. 

Websites will allegedly help you with accessing your account, changing your password, and helping you out of your Gmail predicament—but none of them are official Google phone numbers. First brought to our attention by Waldo Jaquith, the director of U.S. Open Data, the scams appear high in search results when you search for help. 

The first result when you ask Google for Gmail support is the Google contact page, but that's really the only result you can trust. Google doesn't provide phone numbers for customer service; all your technical issues must be solved via the web. 

The lack of human connection when getting locked out of Gmail is a problem people have experienced when trying to get accounts reinstated once they're hacked. 

Earlier this year, an attacker socially engineered login information for marketing consultant Doug Haslam's Gmail and Twitter accounts, and instead of being able to directly communicate with someone from Google, he was given a digital runaround, emailing back and forth with Google support trying to prove his identity. It took weeks for the company to finally reinstate his account. 

If you do get locked out of your account or have to reset your password, Google Account Recovery is the first place you should start.

How to delete your Google activity with Google's new privacy tool
Google is intimately familiar with all the things you like or do or think. When you search for something, use Gmail, watch videos on YouTube, or conduct any other type of activity through a Google product or service, Google collects data about you and establishes a personal profile which it uses to distribute personalized ads.
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