Closing an old or scarcely ever used email account may help you stay organized. But when it comes to Yahoo Mail, it may actually be a good idea to disable your account regardless of how often you use it. Of all the data breaches that rocked the tech world over the last few years, Yahoo really takes the cake. So follow this guide to learn how to delete a Yahoo account permanently.
Last September, Yahoo disclosed a hack that had occurred back in 2014, affecting the details of 500 million users. If that sounds bad, three months later the troubled company discovered another breach dating back to August 2013 and doubling the number of compromised accounts. That’s 1 billion accounts: almost one in seven inhabitants of the planet Earth.
When Yahoo issued another warning of a data security issue this February, everyone pretty much shrugged. This time it was comparatively minor: 32 million accounts had been affected by forged browser cookies in 2015 and 2016. The company had already revealed this breach in a security update back in December, but the news was largely overlooked, as Yahoo’s statement also included information on the 1 billion hack, capturing everyone’s attention.
Yahoo attributed these incidents to hackers working on behalf of an unspecified government. In March, two Russian intelligence agents and two other people were charged with participating in the breaches. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement, calling the allegations part of a politically motivated push to sour the US-Russia relationship.
When any of your online accounts get compromised, hackers usually trawl the databases of the stolen login details and try them on other sites. If you happen to reuse the same credentials for several accounts, such data breach would put all of them at risk.
Even if you don’t think that any of your account data might have been stolen, we advise testing it at Have I Been Pwned. This tool maps your email address across multiple data breaches to check if your data has been swept in any of these.
In other news, Yahoo has recently been purchased by Verizon. Yes, one of the Internet service providers (ISPs) who have managed to keep the right to sell your search history to third parties. As part of a wide-ranging restructuring, Yahoo will be merged by AOL and renamed Oath.
Like other major free email providers, Yahoo Mail also scans your messages in order to show you personally relevant offers based on the information it has about you. It does allow to opt out of the “interest-based” ads, though.
If you’re tired of Yahoo’s data breaches and the general confusion about its credibility, it may be time to take your online privacy into your own hands. Here’s how you can deactivate your Yahoo account in five easy steps.
Note: If you do delete your Yahoo Mail account, you will also lose your My Yahoo settings, Flickr account and photos, Yahoo Messenger and other data related to services that are part of Yahoo. Before closing down the account, make sure you download any information you may need in the future.
Step 1: Sign in to the Yahoo account termination page with the Yahoo ID you want to delete.
Step 2: Read the information about the account termination and click Continue. Note that deleting the account will also remove access to any paid services related to this Yahoo account.
Step 3: Enter your Yahoo password to confirm your identity.
Step 4: Type in the visual or audible code to verify the changes.
Step 5: Click Yes, terminate this account.
Yahoo says the deletion process takes about 40 days to complete. However, it may take longer in certain countries. For accounts registered in Australia or New Zealand, this may take approximately 90 days, and Brazilian or Taiwanese users will have to wait for approximately 180 days.
After you terminate the account, any emails sent to it will bounce back with the delivery failure message.
If you happen to change your mind during the deletion period, you can still reactivate your account. To do that, simply log in to the account within 40 days (or more for the above-mentioned countries). Once you have reactivated the account, people will be able to send emails to it once again. However, you will not be able to access any emails sent to the account’s address while it was closed.
Yahoo also informs that some of your data “might possibly remain” in its records even after the account is fully terminated. To find out more about which information may be stored, visit Yahoo’s Data Storage and Anonymization support page.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!