Yahoo! announced its plans of freeing up inactive IDs provided that they have been dormant for the past 12 months. This is known as the Yahoo! Wish List, and the freed IDs will give a way for other users to choose a more useful name or switch to the username they’ve always wanted, which, of course, was already in use when they first signed up. This means that inactive Yahoo! users can lose their accounts if they have not logged-in for the past year.
Getting a new user ID is one way to entice consumers into using their Yahoo! accounts again, but does this mean that identity thieves can claim inactive IDs and possibly gain access to consumers’ sensitive information both online and offline? Keep in mind that online identity theft can happen to anyone and thieves will do everything to get whatever handy information they can from consumers – in any way they can.
What should you know about Yahoo! Wish List?
First, those who want to parti[censored] te in getting a Yahoo! Email can to go to www.wishlist.yahoo.com where they may enter up to five usernames. When done, just add a Yahoo! email, claim the new user ID, and click on submit button. An automated message will then tell them where they are in line for the new username which can be claimed in mid-August 2013. Yahoo! will email a link where they can activate the new user ID.
The form that is filled out can be completed as many times as they want, and it’s not clear whether or not the most recent submission will overwrite previous ones. If not, then it’s easier for potential new users and even identity thieves to get as many user IDs as they want.
Second, if you do not want to lose your inactive Yahoo! account despite its dormant status, all you have to do is to log-in and it will be removed from the company’s list of inactive IDs.
The question remains is there a threat for you to become a victim of stolen identity if you wish to release your old user ID once and for all? What if it falls into the wrong hands and can be used by them to steal your identity?
Privacy concerns and threats of identity theft
With the Yahoo! Wish List up and active, is it possible for thieves to abuse an old Yahoo! account? Inactive accounts can still contain valuable information about its former user: some even tie it to their email address or to subscribe to mailing lists or other online services, where thieves can gain more information about the old user’s identity. Others even use them for their other online accounts to send verification or password resets or even a back up to their primary email address. Therefore, it’s may become a problem for the original user when everything is connected to their old Yahoo! account.
This privacy concern has already been addressed by Yahoo! which claims that all contents in the old user account will be totally deleted and all subscriptions and mailings will be removed, as well. Simply put, Yahoo! claims that all personal information will be erased from the inactive user ID and all that new users will get is the vacant username. Yahoo! also said that there should be no fear of getting victimized by hackers and identity theft, and they are going great lengths to prevent identity theft from happening. Still, it’s safe to assume that your personal identity may be at risk in this move, so consumers should be very aware of the possible consequences.
Tips to prevent id theft and protect your privacy
Sign-in to your old Yahoo! – The best way to avoid your dormant account from being available to other people is to check in and make it active again. This will remove you from the company’s list of inactive accounts automatically.
Delete anything related to your old account – Once you have signed back in and you have no plans of using your account, just remove any old subscriptions you have. If you have used Yahoo! as your email in your other online accounts, change it to your primary email instead. Empty your message box, as well. Though Yahoo! claims it will delete every personal detail in an inactive account before a new user can use it, it’s much better to do this yourself to be on the safe side.