What “closed” does and doesn’t mean.
Could that person try and impersonate you? Sure.
Would that person see everyone on your contact list? No.
This is an important aspect of account ownership that applies to all services, not just Yahoo.
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Reopening a closed account
When you close or abandon an email account, it’s possible that after some time your user ID or email address could become available for someone else to use. While they would not have access to the previous contents of your account, they would have access to email still being sent to that email address and could use it to try to impersonate you. It’s safer not to close or abandon email accounts, but rather check in just often enough to keep them from being reassigned.
When you close or abandon your account with any online service provider, they typically make your abandoned user name and email address available again after some time. To anyone. As if it had never been used before.
All someone has to do is sign up and ask for it.
For most services, if you log in again before time runs out, it indicates you’re not “abandoning” the account, and resets the clock. Even if you go through the provider’s steps to cancel an account, there’s often a grace period during which you can change your mind, log in, and “un-cancel” the account.
Things get a little confusing when people use multiple services from the same provider. For example, your Microsoft account is at once an email account, possibly your Skype account, your OneDrive account, and perhaps even your computer’s login account. Using any of these services keeps the entire account active. You can’t close only your Microsoft email account while keeping your OneDrive account with the same email address. The same is generally true for all multiple-service providers, including Google and Yahoo!.
If you do abandon or explicitly close your account, exactly when it’s returned to the available pool of names varies greatly.
For example, if you close your account with your ISP, they could make your ID available again the very next day if they wanted to — and I’m sure some do.
Most free services like Yahoo! and others wait at least 30 days, and most wait much longer.
I believe that closing and abandonment are similar processes, and follow the same general sequence of events, but remember, this is totally up to each service provider and can change without warning or notice.
We begin by abandoning the account. That means you don’t use it in any way. You don’t log in to the account or any service related to the account.
After some period of time, the service notices that you haven’t logged in and considers your account abandoned. At this point, typically:
- Any email, files, or other items stored in the account are irretrievably deleted.
- Any contacts, friends, or similar lists are irretrievably deleted.
At this point, your account is effectively gone. You may be able to re-open it by logging in again, but all of your previously stored data will be gone.
After some additional period of time, the service removes the “login to re-open” option completely. You simply cannot get the login ID (i.e. email address) back again once this happens.
At the same time, or perhaps after some additional time, the service will release the email address or ID back into the available pool. Now someone — anyone — could come along and request your old email address and get it.
When someone else has your old email address
It’s important to realize that when someone comes along and requests your abandoned email address, they get a completely new account. There is nothing in that account that relates to your old account except the email address/login ID.
Remember, as part of the closing process, the service deleted all of your stuff before they closed it. It’s gone. You can’t get it, and neither can the person who now has your old email address.
What they will get is any new email sent to your old email address. Deleting your account did nothing to tell the world that the email address isn’t yours anymore. Even if you did try to broadcast the change, it’s very likely that not everyone got the message or updated their records. Chances are your old email address is still in someone’s address book or included on some mailing list somewhere.
The new account owner will get anything sent to your old address.
And he’ll be sending “From:” your old address.
I hope that’s all OK because there’s nothing you can do about it.
OK, there is one thing.
Don’t close the account
If the possibility of someone else getting email intended for you but sent to a long-abandoned email address bothers you, the solution is simple.
Don’t abandon it. Don’t close it.
Keep the account open. Check in every so often so it stays open.
Keep it yours, and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
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27 comments on “Could Someone Reopen My Closed Email Account?”
Good article. I work in website development and we were trying to decide whether or not we should allow users on our websites to change their email addresses on the accounts that they use to place orders. And your article helped us decide quickly that yes, we should allow users to change their email addresses on accounts. Thanks!
An easy way around this is to get yourself a domain name , set all your emails to be shown as from the domain and not the actual email address and set up the mail forwarding on the domain host to come to your actual inbox.
(It’s often possible to download webmail using outlook express for these purposes).
Then when you move mail provider or change your account just change the address the domain host forwards your mail to, nobody will be any the wiser.
It’s worked for me over 3 ISP changes and many many account changes.
Thanks!today I was just thinking to delete my account without thiking,but than,Thanks to God,it struck in my mind,that if someone else started using it…….that will not be good…and after reading ur answer…im resolved that if someone want to delete account,one should first tell friends that im going to do so….and if someone else start using this id,be sure that it will be not me…afcourse…thanks
actually i have this yahoo email id with email@example.com , i want the same id as firstname.lastname@example.org . so shud i delete my previous account in order to get a new 1 ? because i can be logged in as both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org . but my emails only come for email@example.com ?
Unfortunately computers see the two email accounts as completely separate. There is more information in this article:
How do I change my email address
For that someone’s buddy list, the password don’t mather at all for a very simple reason: They never had that information. For you, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org with password zzz. For anybody else, it’s just email@example.com.
hey i closed a month ago my old email (hotmail) and just now i re opened it and it said before that that there has been someone maybe trying to use it and i had to get a message in my phone and open it with that. And now that i have opened it there is 2 emails from tumblr that someone in there is following me and i was like wtf i have never created an account in there and doesnt even know for sure what that place is. So i went to tumblr.com and pressed ‘forgot my password?’ thing and then it asked my email so i put my old email there. and then email comes from tumblr to change someones tumblr password and i did it. then i singed in there and i was in someones tumblr account. what should i do
Nothing. I’d ignore the tumblr account completely. It is someone else’s but since they specified the wrong email address (yours) they have no way to get it back.
I tried to create create Google account for some people using my phone but it couldn’t open the page where I can create Google so it opened a black page that says create Google account but I clicked “new” not “existing”. I filled the form but I could not require DoB, phone number, gender, and a verification code. I thought everything was fine but now my problem is that I am the one who is receiving those people’s emails in my phone. I don’t know how can I fix this, I want these emails to go straight to their phones not mine. I did not wanna add accounts to my existing account.
That would require adding that account to your friend’s phone’s email app and deleting it from your phone’s app.
Emails don’t GO TO your phone. Your phone GOES OUT and fetches the email. So delete the account from your phone, and have them login to the account on their phones.
Ok. This has happened before but I didn’t worry about until I was filling out a job application. I tried sign up as a new user and they said my email was already used to sign up as a new user. So I figured I would sign in as an already signed up for this job’s site. Well I figured I just didn’t know my password. While I was waiting for an email to reset my email because they ask for your address ur using now. Well I waited for several minutes and I received nothing. I thought this was weird because u usually get it right away or at least a minute for them to get me my new reset password. Well, forgetful me had closed an old email on yahoo and still stay with yahoo just change the name part. So basically I closed this account in 2008 or 2009 and now they need my old address and ,now that I, thinking, they will need my old password because I can’t go any further because of the old email that I used in 2008 or 2009 because that is where my reset password went. So, I’ll never get the job I really liked because of a stupid old email address that can’t remember at all. I really hope someone can help me out asap so I don’t lose this job opportunity. ps. They only do online applications.
Not sure if this is possible in your case, but you should be able to open a new email account on GMail or Yahoo with that old email address and use that to open a new account with that website.It should work as long as no one else snagged that email address.
Try to open the email account again. If that does not work try to email the person about the matter and maybe they will be nice about it. But, they will most likely think it’s spam. Now I wish I did not close that account but I did get an old yahoo account back open. Witch I will never close.
I opened a new outlook.com email account recently.
I omitted to give it the Display Name I wanted.
Now (of course) when I send an email the recipient doesn’t see the intended business Name, but my actual Personal Name.
I’ve changed all Profile details to remove my Personal Name, deleted all emails received (by me, to a test email account) Amended the Contact list in both sending and receiving accounts & STILL when I send emails the recipient gets an email from my Personal Name!
How can I sort this. Do I have to close the account, then wait 90 days a d hope to re-occur the account as if someone else? Arrgh! Please help.
You can still change the display name, don’t have to close the account. You need to go to settings and then look for that particular email account. Outlook has the ability to send and receive for several accounts, so if you have one it’s hard to see because it’s a list of one. Click into that email and you’ll find the place for display name.
I had to look into this…
I recently got myself a new email inspired by a book I read in which one of the characters uses a yahoo account. Assumed it would be taken, but surprisingly I got it.
Today, though, I got an email from some sort of website for Momiji dolls (which, given my personal interests and such, I thought I’d mistakenly signed up for some newsletter on a random email…..) But It went to the new email and it wasn’t a site I’ve ever been to before…. so I was a little confused.
All in All, I guess that yes. Emails from subscriptions/newsletters on websites will keep coming into the email even after it’s been reclaimed by a new person. Assuming the last person who had this email and abandoned it signed up for those newsletters. Found this interesting, honestly and thanks to this article I got a little bit of insight as to why I was getting stuff from sites I hadn’t been on.
Suddenly yahoo tampered a number of times my password and I cannot access my private email anymore .I try to set a new password but they block me out with an endless circle of stupid questions I cannot answer and they never allow me to set a new password. I have proven them I’m the owner of the email address they have tampered with and I have proven my identity through accessing another email address I have from. Still they claim they are not sure I’m the owner of the email they have manipulated,which is a lie. Suddenly I also realize how can be difficult to find a legal intervention or a watchdog and how this society is getting down the drain of private abuse. Please I need to contact son authority who tell them this is a totalitarian act and give me back the right to access my second email where I have important mail to be answered.
Unfortunately, with a free email service, there is little or nothing you can do when something like this happens. There’s usually something in the terms and conditions you agreed to when signing up that absolves them from responsibility.
Are Free Email Services Worth It?
You Can Use Free Email Safely (But Most People Don’t)
In addition to Mark’s comments, it’s very unlikely that Yahoo! tampered with your account. Much more likely is that some random hacker has gained access.
Yahoo has closed my email account without asking me.Suddenly the password do not work anymore and at every attempt to set a new password it ends into asking me a series of questions I don’t know the answers as I never set them before as a security issue. I contacted the yahoo telling them that the email address is linked with Pay Pal since years and with which I make purchases monthly .Plus I have proven I’m the owner of the email they have vandalized by responding from another email I have. Still they find excuses for not let me access it. I have plenty of emails from friends to check out and they literally cut me out. On the last attempt I have made to contact yahoo,they have provided me with a “help link” and when I run the mouse on that blue link,the arrow does not turn into a hand and I’m not going anywhere. .This is a sheer violation of people privacy I would have expect from a regime of Pinochet type,more that than a so called democracy. I ‘m losing faith into institutions like these and I feel to make less and less use of electronic mail given its volatile availability due to precarious management-attitude. Is like they can cut you out of communications at any time.
That you didn’t set recovery information is the root of the problem, I’m certain. Without doing that you can lose your account permanently. You simply must take responsibility for the security of your account like this. If you read the terms and conditions (that you agreed to when setting up the account) you’ll find that Yahoo is acting well within their rights to protect accounts from access by the wrong people. Without being able to categorically prove you are that right person, they must (must) deny you access. What most people feel is “proof” is typically significantly less than that, and not something email providers are required to accept. The lesson for all who follow is simple: make absolutely certain to set and maintain the recovery information for any account you even halfway consider important.
See this article:
A One-step Way to Lose Your Account … Forever
And by the way, Yahoo is a private company, not a democracy. They are only bound by the terms of the contract you agreed to when signing up.
Are Free Email Services Worth It?
I have an email account that I opened in the mid-90s. I stopped using it a few years later but I kept it open by checking it monthly. 10 years later, I got an email from an old friend whom I hadn’t heard from in years.
Suppose an ISP (or another email service like Fastmail… or even Yahoo) decides to shut down. All the email addresses will go “poof”. What happens if someone later decides to buy the same domain and start another email service? Do Domain Registrars prevent this from happening? I ask, because years ago I had a Webtv and had a Webtv email address (I believe WebTV was bought out by Microsoft and they later “killed” Webtv). It is a long-shot, but if the domain Webtv ever came back to life and email was offered, someone could potentially acquire my old address. I’m sure someone still has my old Webtv address in their address book.
To your situation: the webtv domain is still owned by Microsoft, and they even still support its email. While you can’t get new webtv email addresses, the old ones continue to work (login via outlook.com). I have a friend who’s still using her webtv email address to this day. No reason to switch, as I don’t expect Microsoft to ever let that domain go.
That being said in the general case: no, registrars have nothing in place to prevent this (when you get into the details it’s really hard to know who should and should not be allowed to re-purpose a domain). The bottom line is your disaster scenario could absolutely happen, but it’s extremely unlikely for major, popular services.
If something like that happened, it wouldn’t be any different then the scenario described in the article. It’s a completely new account. They would only get any email sent to you after opening that account. It’s a good reason to stick with a major provider that you don’t expect to go belly up. I lost an account when a free email provider went out of business in the 90s.