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Yahoo Account Deletion Hoax

Email claims that if the recipient does not send the message on to at least ten other people his or her Yahoo account will be deleted (Full commentary below).


Example:(Submitted, September 2007)
Subject: Yahoo Accounts Deletion

Dear YAHOO User

Because of the sudden rush of people signing up to YAHOO, it has come to our attention that we are vastly running out of resources. So, within a month's time,anyone who does not receive this email with the exact subject heading,will be deleted off our server. Please forward this email so that we know you are still using this account.

We want to find out which users are actually using their YAHOO accounts. So if you are using your account, please pass this e-mail to every YAHOO user that you can and IF YOU DO NOT PASS this letter to anyone we will delete your account.

YAHOO Admin. Dept.

Our YAHOO system is getting to crowded!! We need you to forward this to at least 20 people. I know this seems like a large number, but we need to find out who is really using their account. If you do not send t his to at least 10 YAHOO members, we will delete your account. Sorry for this inconvenience.

Sincerely, Director of YAHOO Services

According to this email forward, Yahoo is "running out of resources" and is intending to close the accounts of members who do not pass the warning on to at least ten other people. However, this "warning" is entirely bogus and should not be taken seriously. Versions of the hoax that target Yahoo and a host of other online services have circulated continually since the late 1990's.

Although the colourful gussied up example shown above may seem a smidgen more "official" than some of the more amateurish versions that circulate, it is nonetheless a load of nonsense. Any message that claims that you need to forward an email to a certain number of people in order to retain membership of a service is virtually certain to be a hoax. No legitimate company, including Yahoo, is ever likely to impose such an absurd and uncontrollable requirement on its members.

The following links point to articles debunking other versions of the hoax: These types of hoaxes are "successful" because they have an effective mechanism for self-propagation built right into their message. Many people forward these messages "just in case they are true". But, even if only a small percentage of recipients pass them on to ten or more of their friends, the amount of copies circulating can soon escalate into the hundreds of thousands.

Thus, such hoaxes do no more than waste bandwidth, clutter inboxes and make the sender look foolish. Please do not forward them.

Last updated: 28th September 2007
First published: 28th September 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen