PSA: Your Verizon.net email address will stop working

If you do NOT have a verizon.net address, then don’t gloat. Check your inbox for friends & family who use it, and give them this info.

If you DO, then either (1) Verizon has cruelly and rudely informed you, with short notice, that they will to end your verizon.net email service, or (2) Verizon will do so “in the coming weeks.” But you can save your email address.

You must wait to receive the notice (in email and/or when you login to Verizon webmail), but you must act quickly, within the deadline you are given. They promise 30 days, but some people got six days notice.

Context: Verizon is ending email service, as obnoxiously as possible, because (1) they now own AOL, (2) they don’t want to do any avoidable work, and (3) they are thoughtfully reminding us of the historic inability of the telecommunications sector to deliver a user experience that isn’t horrific. If you don’t act, your verizon.net address will stop working. I wrote this because I am close a few Verizon victims.

The good news: You can preserve your verizon.net email address.  (And you want to do so.) Even if you’re not using it actively, if you ever did use that address there surely are people you care about who never entered your newer email into their address books.  It’s worth the few minutes to have it preserved as yours, forever, including after you drop Verizon entirely.

To get it done: 

Summary of what we’ll do: you’re going to create an AOL account, with the username of youraddress@verizon.net. This is the only way to prevent cancellation of that email account.  You’ll then forward that verizon.net address to a respectable email service, such as Gmail. (Or icloud, mac, outlook, or another responsible service. No phone or cable companies!)

If your verizon.net email was already forwarded, you will still lose that address unless you do this.  Happily, the forwarding setting will migrate to AOL along with your verizon.net address.

The few steps, in a very few minutes:

(1) Moving your Verizon.net address to AOL.com
Go to https://webmail.verizon.com/signin/Login.jsp
NOTE: Verizon’s website is very slow these days.

Sign in.  NOTE: your “username” is your ENTIRE verizon.net email address.

If you forgot your password, you can still do this.  The “forgot password?” option is very easy.

Choose Option 1:  The options are misleadingly described.  You want to keep your verizon.net email address AND use another email provider.  You can do both only if you choose “Option 1” and create an AOL account (which you’ll forget about, immediately after).

So, click on “Keep verizon.net email address >” to be sent to vzmailonboard.aol.com

(2) Give info to AOL, but lie a lot:  You’ll see fields with:
* your name (which you can edit), and
* your verizon.net email (which you shouldn’t touch).
Also fields that ask for:
* a Date of Birth (which you should lie about — see Security Note below),
* a new password (make it extra good, see note), and
* a security question (again: lie — see note)

They will send a “verification code” to a mobile phone number you provide.  (Which of course “verifies”almost nothing, but it will become your “recovery phone”.)

(2) “Congratulations” screen  They say it could be a few hours until all your email and contacts/calendar/whatever are all migrated. It’ll probably be very fast. “You will receive a welcome email in your inbox when it’s all done.”

NOTE: Decline to install the AOL Mail mobile app! Even if you use AOL email, you’d be better off using the Gmail or Apple Mail app.

Sign into AOL via the link on that screen

(3) At AOL (perhaps your first & last visit)
Your verizon.net email now goes to https://mail.AOL.com, where you now are.

Go to “options” (under your username, upper right corner of the screen):
* On the default “General Settings” tab, put your gmail address in the “forward to” address.
* (Don’t have a gmail address?  Go to Gmail and get one. It’s easier than you think.)
* On the Spam Settings tab, disable “Spam Filter”, because gmail is better at this sort of thing than AOL. Plus, you’ll never  come back here to check your spam trap for false positives.

You’re done, forever, with AOL & Verizon email! That is, if you took my advice and are now forwarding to Gmail.  If not, then see below.

Why do I urge you to use a Gmail address?  Because (1) it’ll be yours forever, whereas Verizon or AOL might decide to cancel this one, (2) you just got an email proving that you can’t trust Verizon, and that they are bad at this sort of thing, (3) trivial: an email address of “verizon.net” is uncool, if not as bad as “aol.com”, (4) important: AOL has a mixed reputation for security, if not so bad as that of AOL’s fellow Verizon subsidiary, Yahoo.

Custom domains: now’s a good time. While you’re changing your default email address, you might instead choose to register a custom domain (e.g., mine is Scherlis.com), in which case I recommend using Google Domains for many reasons, including security, price, and ease of use. That domain can become your “From” address in Gmail, but that’s another conversation. (It’s easy, but incredibly non-obvious.)

EXTRAS:

Footnote on Date of Birth (DoB) & the “security question”: You should lie about this, because your DoB is useful to identify thieves, and none of AOL’s business.  Just give a date that has you over-18, and that you’ll remember.  Same for your security question.

Do you have other verizon.net addresses? If so, those “secondary” email addresses attached to this verizon account will be included in the migration. Each address gets its own spam from Verizon, so do click “unsubscribe” in those emails.  (There’s also a link to your Verizon “profile information”, where you ostensibly can set your spam preferences, but it is currently broken: it will reload itself endlessly.)

Verizon has an email FAQ.

Problems sending email?  If you were using verizon.net to send email (via their SMTP servers) from your email application, then you’ll need to change your settings.  I’d urge you to switch to gmail, and use their SMTP settings.  I

But if you insist, you can send via AOL.  You really must use the secure settings these days:
username = your-user-name@verizon.net  (same password as the one you gave AOL, above)
SMTP (outgoing) server:  smtp.aol.com   Port=587   Do select “TLS” for security.

Receiving email directly from AOL’s servers:  if you stubbornly refuse to forward to gmail, as I recommend above, then use IMAP (recommended) or POP:
username/password (as above)
IMAP (incoming) server: imap.aol.com Port=993 for SSL (secure) receipt. Insecure email is a BAD idea these days.

AOL has detailed email-settings help, including for Outlook, others.

Disclaimer & beg: Not responsible, park & lock it, your mileage may vary. But if you spot an error, please let me know, in comments. (I’ll get an email, even if your comment is in moderation limbo.)

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