Do you have a Yahoo! account that you no longer use? Chances are, it has already been given to another person.
In June 2013, Yahoo announced its plan of recycling old and inactive email addresses. An account that has been inactive for 12 months would be reset. After which, it would then be available again to someone who wants it.
When this announcement was made, Yahoo has been under fire since then. Many security experts and critics raised concerns about Yahoo’s plan of recycling old Yahoo IDs. To which Yahoo responded by stating that the company ensures inactive Yahoo accounts will be recycled safely and securely.
Unfortunately, the issue is far more sensitive than expected. There had be numerous reports regarding new owners of recycled accounts still receiving messages meant for the old account holders. Messages such as spam and PII (personally identifiable information) are still being sent to the concerned email address even if it’s already being used by a different person.
The bad news is that nobody is stopping new users or recycled accounts from opening messages sent to them – whether it is truly intended for them or to the previous account holder.
If an inactive Yahoo ID was used to signup to PayPal, or used to subscribe to a service (it usually requires a complete name, billing address and bank information to facilitate the subscription), then new account holder can also have access to these things. Which now makes identity theft more alarming than ever.
Those who had an old and unused Yahoo account should check out their email addresses now and see if it’s already being used by someone else.