Recycled Yahoo Mail Addresses Still Receive Messages For Previous Owner

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Yahoo says recycling process is safe despite new owners receiving sensitive information and passwords

Yahoo Mail addresses that have been recycled and reassigned to new users are still receiving emails intended for the original owners, according to Sophos.

The Internet giant announced in June this year it was going to recycle inactive addresses, and a month later created a watchlist that allowed users to monitor up to five Yahoo IDs and to receive a notification when they became available.

Users were charged $1.99 for the service, but security concerns raised at the time were dismissed by Yahoo who promised there would be a 30 day period between deactivation and recycling, during which it would alert senders that the mail account no longer existed, unsubscribe users to commercial email lists and send notifications to important addresses such as banks.

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Yahoo Mail recycling

However, the first batch of new owners are still claiming they receive sensitive information such as passwords and personally identifiable information, with one user saying he had access to the former owner’s Facebook account and knew the last four digits of their social security number.

Yahoo told TechWeekEurope it had taken a number of steps to ensure the transfer of email addresses was handled securely. It said the accounts it recycled hadn’t been used in more than a year and it made a number of attempts to warn the affected user. It then deleted all private data from the account and sent the aforementioned measures to prevent emails intended for the previous user from reaching the new user’s inbox.

“We also collaborated with email service providers, merchants and other large email senders so they were aware of this effort, and worked extensively to get the word out directly to our users,” said a company spokesperson. “Additionally, we’re in the process of rolling out a feature in Yahoo Mail called ‘Not My Email’ where users can report that an email is not intended for them. We continue to look for ways to protect our users.”

Yahoo is currently enjoying a minor renaissance under CEO Marissa Mayer, who has grown traffic to around 800 million monthly users and received more unique visitors than any other US-based company during July.

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