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3/1/18
Original Poster
EDward J. Wagner

Why Does Google Keep Locking my Gmail Account for "Unusual Activity"

I am getting extremely irritated at Google the past year for continually locking me out of my Gmail account because Google Algorithms detect "Unusual Activity" which happens to be me spending hours composing and sending emails. 

I forgot to shut down my IMac last night so Gmail was still open this morning. I composed a short reply to a message, tried to send it, and was locked out of my account. When I got back into the account, I clicked on a message to read it, and was locked out again!

I tried different browsers - Safari, Firefox, Opera - and even changed my IP, but was still locked out.

However, I have access to my account if I use Thunderbird on my iMac or use my iPad and never get locked out on it. 

Sometimes a Google message claims that a program has accessed my account without stating the program name so how do I determine which program Google thinks is accessing the account? I checked the programs that I allow access. I did remove one or 2 that were no longer needed but left others.

Can anyone help?

Ed Wagner
Mililani, Hawaii
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All Replies (2)
Somnath.
3/6/18
Somnath.


On Thursday, 1 March 2018 15:54:21 UTC-5, EDward J. Wagner wrote:
I am getting extremely irritated at Google the past year for continually locking me out of my Gmail account because Google Algorithms detect "Unusual Activity" which happens to be me spending hours composing and sending emails. 

I forgot to shut down my IMac last night so Gmail was still open this morning. I composed a short reply to a message, tried to send it, and was locked out of my account. When I got back into the account, I clicked on a message to read it, and was locked out again!

I tried different browsers - Safari, Firefox, Opera - and even changed my IP, but was still locked out.

Unusual usage is described as an action

, particularly those which could simulate account abuse and considered unusual from your normal, everyday usage. While some deviations are allowed, the system may count extreme number as aberrations and create a lockout. Also, remember that these limits are not absolute but are relative to individual accounts based on their usage pattern.


If you are getting locked out due to unusual account activity, it may be due to, but not restricted to:


  1. Receiving, deleting, or downloading large amounts of mail via POP or IMAP in a short period of time. If you're getting the error message, 'Lockdown in Sector 4,' you should be able to access Gmail again after waiting 24 hours.
  2. Sending a large number of undeliverable messages (messages that bounce back).
  3. Using file-sharing or file-storage software, browser extensions, email clients or third-party software that automatically logs in to your account.
  4. Leaving multiple instances of Gmail open.
  5. Browser-related issues. Please note that if you find your browser continually reloading while attempting to access your Inbox, it's probably a browser issue, and it may be necessary to clear your browser's cache and cookies.
In addition to the listed actions, your account may also be temporarily blocked if you are sending, sharing or downloading large numbers of pictures OR send out plentiful emails from a new account. 

You need to investigate the possible causes listed to see if any of them apply, even slightly.  If you do have a problem and it's not corrected, your account could get blocked again, even immediately after regaining access which may give the impression that it has been continually locked out. Please note that for all instances of lockouts caused by unusual usage, the max period is 24 hours after which the lock is automatically released. There is no provision of a manual override. So, you have to be patient and wait out the lockout period.
 
Sometimes a Google message claims that a program has accessed my account without stating the program name so how do I determine which program Google thinks is accessing the account? I checked the programs that I allow access. I did remove one or 2 that were no longer needed but left others.

You can visit the See security-related notifications and alerts page and the devices activity page to check on the recent devices used to access your account. You can also look at the various apps and sites with access to your account: Apps connected to your account. If you have 2-step verification enabled, refer to these links to remove app passwords and remove trusted computers. If you suspect an account security breach, go through the Gmail security checklist as well as the account Security Checkup. 

3/6/18
Original Poster
EDward J. Wagner
Thanks for making a response, but unfortunately, it is unsatisfactory. 

When I'm locked out of my Gmail account on my iMac, I can still access and use my Gmail account from my iPad and from Thunderbird on my iMac. I can probably access it from my iPhone too, but have not tried to do so. My account is only locked out in browsers on my iMac.

I'm retired 12 years as an IT Specialist for the US Government. I'm very involved in fighting political battles against corrupt government and businesses in Hawaii and helping my retired attorney with his run for Governor of Hawaii. 

So, I do send out lots of emails, taking many hours to compose some of them with as many as 498 recipients, just under the 500 limit.

I also use an email tracker on Google Play, Trackapp. I had to file a complaint with Google against the company for deactivating my annual premium account after 3 months. The account was finally reactivated, but the so called premium support remains nonexistent. I can't get an answer to a simple question about a configuration option that does not seem to work, and the company does not have any form of user guide for proper interpretation of the information provided by the program output. Here is the Google reference:

Re: [5-7657000021101] 
googleplay-dev...@google.com 

This program can send me a lot of emails to my inbox in a short time as part of the proper functioning of the program. That is one reason why I think my account gets locked out. It also puts a lot of extra emails in my sent folder very quickly as part of its normal functionality. I go back later and delete hundreds of those extra sent emails very quickly too, often 50 at a time.

Can you now explain why my "normal activity" locks my account and why I still have access from Thunderbird and my iPad and probably my iPhone?

I'll look at the response to the 2nd part of my question next.


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