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Top Story: 3 reasons to delete your Yahoo account immediately

Are you still using a Yahoo account? The tech company has been around since 1994 and has an estimated 1 billion monthly active users. There are over 80 million Yahoo Mail customers in the U.S. alone.

If you do have a Yahoo account, I have three big reasons why you should delete it immediately. Especially if you are concerned about your privacy and security.

Massive data breach

By now I'm sure that you have heard of the massive data breach at Yahoo. The breach happened back in 2014 but we didn't find out about it until recently. Information that may have been stolen includes email addresses, names, telephone numbers, hashed passwords, birthdays and even encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

When news of the breach first came out, Yahoo confirmed that at least 500 million of its users were affected. However, an anonymous former executive with Yahoo told Business Insider that the data breach could have actually affected up to 3 billion accounts. Yahoo's back-end system is organized in such a way that the number of compromised accounts could be much larger than reported.

Yahoo has not said how the breach happened, or when it was discovered for that matter. It is under investigation. This scary massive data breach should be enough to make you want to delete your Yahoo account.

Government spying

As if the massive data breach wasn't bad enough for Yahoo, a new report alleges the tech company is letting the U.S. government spy on emails.

Some former Yahoo employees told Reuters that the company secretly built a custom software program last year. The program was used to scan all Yahoo customers' incoming emails for specific information for U.S. intelligence officials.

Yahoo was complying with a classified U.S. government request that came from either the National Security Agency (NSA) or the FBI. Hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts were scanned.

It's the first known case of a U.S. internet company complying with an intelligence agency request to search all incoming emails. Previous requests applied to stored messages or a small number of accounts in real-time. What information the intelligence officials were after, or what Yahoo handed over, is not known at this time.

You can read our story on Yahoo's massive NSA hidden email scan for all the details.

Obsolete accounts

Since Yahoo has been around for over two decades, you might have an old account that you don't use anymore. You could even be using services associated with Yahoo without realizing it. You should delete all unused accounts immediately!

Here are some Yahoo-owned services:

  • Tumblr, a blogging service
  • Flickr, a photo sharing site
  • Playing Fantasy Football via Yahoo Sports
  • Using your Yahoo account to access Yahoo-branded services like Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Shopping, Yahoo Music, etc.
  • Your smart TV using Yahoo Smart TV services (usually associated with the Vizio brand)

Most sites have different rules on how to close your account, and some make it more difficult to get rid of than others. Here is a way to manage your online safety on hundreds of sites.

Now that I've given you reasons to close your Yahoo account, I'll tell you how you do it.

First, you will need the passwords for the accounts you're closing. If you have a child and family account, make sure you delete the child account first. Once you delete an account, it can't be recovered.

How to close your Yahoo account:

  • Go to the "Terminating your Yahoo account" page.
  • Read the information under "Before continuing, please consider the following information."
  • Confirm your password - if you forgot your password, you can recover it with the Yahoo Sign-in Helper.
  • Click Terminate this Account.

Remember, if you do close your Yahoo account, you will not be able to use services associated with it. So if you decide to keep your account, at the very least change your password and your Yahoo secret questions and answers. You can also enable two-step verification, set up a Yahoo Account Key, or use a password manager. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

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