What Does Yahoo Do When Someone Reports They Are Being Impersonated?


Our online identity is one of our most valued possessions. It’s hard to function these days without leaving some sort of digital footprint; from online banking to more general use of professional email. But what happens when something goes wrong? Yahoo has been a part of the online digital landscape for some time, and it has a variety of safeguards in place to address fraudulent identity situations when these arise.

Ways to Tell if You’ve Been Hacked

  • There are several telltale signs you’ve been hacked, as outlined on Yahoo’s website: They include changes being made to your account information; logins from locations you don't recognize in your Login Activity page; spam being sent from your account; messages in your Sent folder that you didn't send; Receiving multiple failed delivery messages and not receiving emails you've been expected.

    Yahoo's website recommends changing your password immediately if you feel your account was accessed without your permission. This should be done immediately if you have even the slightest suspicions concerning your online identity, according to Yahoo. Use the “Change your Password” link on Yahoo or the “Yahoo Password Helper” if you don’t have access to the site.

Yahoo’s Terms of Service

  • All Yahoo subscribers must agree to the company’s posted “Terms of Service” prior to creating a Yahoo identity and using that identity for email, purchasing or other online activities. The policy posted on Yahoo’s website clearly states that, “You agree not to use Yahoo Services to impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a Yahoo! official, forum leader, guide or host, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.”

Message Board Impersonations and Harassment

  • Yahoo's website has specific instructions on what to do if you feel you’re being impersonated or harassed on company message boards. Yahoo subscribers are instructed to use the “Reporting Form” available through a link found in the “Privacy and Abuse” section on the company website. Include examples of the posts on the board, including the name, URL and Message Board Post Number and the Yahoo user name of the person who is impersonating or harassing you.

Impersonation Issues with Email

  • Yahoo’s reporting policy regarding email is similar to its Message Board process. Subscribers who believe someone is trying to use their online identity or representing them in a Yahoo email are instructed to use the “Incident Form” also found in the “Privacy and Abuse” section on the website. Yahoo does take precautions concerning emails by utilizing DomainKeys as covered in its Help section. DomainKeys let senders digitally sign emails sent to Yahoo accounts and verify the sender’s authenticity. The technology also encrypts messages so its origin (domain) can be verified.

Get all the Facts

  • The privacy portion of Yahoo's website outlines the process for investigations into possible online impersonation. Yahoo cautions that due to the popularity of several online aliases, similar online IDs are sometimes created. Yahoo's website instructs subscribers who feel that they are being impersonated to gather specific examples of someone else representing themselves as you. Yahoo maintains that it needs this information to investigate and take actions necessary as outlined in the company’s posted policies.

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