Recycled Yahoo Accounts Pose Major Identity Theft Risk

Dismayed computer user

Yahoo recently announced that they were recycling dormant email addresses. Yahoo IDs that hadn’t been used in awhile were made available again and taken over by other users who wanted them. Donna Tam, of CNet, reports that there’s a significant security problem with that.

Even though users hadn’t accessed their Yahoo emails in over a year, they still have accounts associated with them all over the internet. One user who took over a previously owned Yahoo ID says the email address is associated with a Pandora and Facebook account and is the contact for a doctor’s office.

Multiple users have seen emails intended for the address’s previous owner. Those emails contain the ability to hack into the previous owner’s online accounts and some contain personal information like the last 4 digits of a social security number and physical address. With that information, a motivated person could hack into any number of accounts. The potential for identity theft is incredibly high.

Yahoo says most of the recycled accounts were not receiving any emails before being claimed by a new user. They also claim that they’ve taken precautions so the new account holders don’t receive emails containing information about the accounts of another person. But, Yahoo has to rely on other websites to make changes in order to fully fix the problem.

If you let your Yahoo email address lapse, you’ll definitely want to go through all of your online accounts and make sure none of them are associated with an address that may now be used by someone else. Don’t forget to also check with doctors’ offices and friends to let them know that you no longer use that email.

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September 25th, 2013