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Old email accounts put your privacy at risk

Posted at 8:07 AM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 09:07:13-05

And it's not just old operating systems that put you at risk.

Many of us have old email accounts that we haven't used in years but are still active.

And tech experts tell us how it could pose a huge security risk.

"Its almost like the cornerstone of your whole digital life."

The key to all of your personal information could be your email account.

Tech Expert Alex Hamerstone says, "Because all of your banking information or whatever other accounts you have, whether its retailing or amazon or whatever, usually use your email address."

Hamerstone says older ones are especially at risk.

You're less likely to notice any unusual activity on those accounts, because you don't regularly use them.

"And these old email accounts we don't even think about. Its something from the past, even if its an old social media account or MySpace or who knows what it is. When was the last time you thought about any of that?"

If a hacker gains access to any of your old email accounts, they could use it to send emails to other people in hopes of getting information from them.

But the biggest risk is when that old account is tied to your current ones, and hackers gain access to those.

"So if you're able to get their username and password off one site, they may be a much easier target. You can often times take those usernames and passwords and try them at banks, or try them at more important places and you'll get right in."

So its important to take action now before that happens.

"You have to remember which ones you had, I mean, that's probably half the battle," says Hamerstone.

And once you do that, determine what you want to do with them.

The best thing is probably to just delete those old accounts and be done with them.

But if you want to keep them around, add an extra layer of security.

Hamerstone says, "Even some of these older email services now offer multi-factor authentication, so you can set it up and tie it to you cell phones so if someone wants to log in from an unrecognized computer, then it will send you a text message and you have to approve it or enter a code."

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