The Mystery of the Phantom Account

You’ve probably been there too. You go to assign a task or add a collaborator. You start typing the person’s name and two options for the same person come up. Usually there is just one difference in the associated email address, such as two letters that are transposed.

Which account should you select? You contact the person and verify which account is correct. Fine. But how can you rid your Organization or Workspace of the incorrect account?

First of all, how does this happen?

In most cases, someone invited a person to a team or project using both a misspelled email address and the correct one. Now the incorrect account is "stuck’ in the Organization or Workspace.

The phantom is born

By this point, you have probably tried to remove the incorrect account from every team and project you have access to. You probably also used Advanced Search to find every task associated with the misspelled account and removed it as an Assignee and Collaborator from all of them.

Much to your dismay, when you type the account name again in the Assignee or Collaborators fields, the incorrect account still shows up in the dropdown list! What!?

You hit the Asana Community Forum and the Asana Guide—which of course are fantastic—and you read up about how to Deprovision an account. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel!

Now for the head-scratcher: the account is no where to be found. You confirm that it is not a member of any team or project in the organization. So, how can you Deprovision this phantom account?

The solution: counterintuitive, but effective

  1. Here’s the key: to Deprovision a phantom account, you must first temporarily reinvite it to a team that you manage, misspelling and all.
  2. Then, find the phantom account listed in the Team Settings > Members tab of the Team
  3. Hover your mouse over the name of the phantom account
  4. Click Remove
  5. Then, click Remove Access
  6. Finally, click Deprovision

Let’s review. That is a total of three clicks: Remove, Remove Access, and then Deprovision.

The second click removes the account from your Team, and the third click completely removes it from your Organization.

A big thanks to Scott in Asana Support for helping me troubleshoot this issue.

Now enjoy clean lists of Assignees and Collaborators in all your Organizations and Workspaces!


Nicely explained, @David_Nelson!

And this is the recommended approach for deprovisioning correctly-spelled users too, though first you might want to find and reassign all of their work (tasks, projects, etc.) to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks or become inaccessible/uneditable.



Thanks @lpb! Those are some important reminders about off-boarding to fill out this topic.

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Thanks for this post. Have a similar issue where people assigned task to a Google group email address. Now there is a phantom account, and no-one knows how to access it.

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Thanks for the post!

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Thank you for this information! :slight_smile:

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What do you recommend if the phantom account is not a misspelling but someone who was never a part of your organization? We have 2 showing up in our assignee list and have no idea who they are or how they ended up in the account. I’d rather not send an invite to these strangers and further confuse the issue or enable them to then see the account, when we’re hoping they can’t currently.

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Note: Not a solution but marked as such to elevate a key reply

See also my Forum Leader Tip:

which I wrote after this thread went dormant and wanted to link here now.

@Nancy_Disbro, It sounds like you want to remove those folks which both the OP and my post describe or link to instructions about.



@Nancy_Disbro, welcome to the Community! :handshake: I concur with @lpb’s comments. If no one knows who the mystery users are, you might decide to simply deprovision them using the steps above and the helpful in formation in Larry’s post. Perhaps another team member invited them, and they may not have ever accepted the invitation. If you have other questions, just let us know.

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I am trying to avoid sending an invite to someone we don’t know, even if I can immediately remove/deprovision the name. It is highly unlikely another team member invited them since the Asana account has been used exclusively by the owner of the business until about a week ago when she invited me.

Thank you. I appreciate the prompt reply. I had read your post before sending my message. I posted to this thread because it seems closest to our situation as the name has never been a member, has not been sent an invite previously, and I was hoping there was a way to avoid sending one even if we remove/deprovision immediately.


I’m unclear from your description if the people are part of your organization, or just invited.

If the former, you can follow the deprovision and I don’t think they’ll be contacted; regardless, they will not be able to access anything if you follow the steps.

If the latter, then just ignore it, or see if in a “…” menu you can uninvite them which also doesn’t contact them.

If you’re unsure, just request make the change.



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@Nancy_Disbro, do the persons you would like to remove appear in the Members list of your Admin Console? If so, you could click the “. . .” next to the person’s name and select Remove. I do not believe this will send an email to the person. See the “Manage all members in an organization” heading in the Admin Console article of the Asana Guide.