Yahoo Messenger Account Information
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Tuesday, 18 November 2003
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[Account Information]
[Changing Your Password]
[Fogotten Your Password]
[Changing your Challenge Question]
[Deleting your account]
[Yahoo! Report Harrassment/Abuse etc]
[Yahoo! Contact Details]
[Yahoo! Documents...Privacy, TOS etc]

Your Account Information...
Yahoo Account Information
Your account information (Yahoo calls this your ID card) is readily available to access and then edit from just about any Yahoo service that you sign into.. [My Yahoo], [Yahoo Chat], [Yahoo Briefcase] etc, generally you'll find it in the top right hand corner of your screen..

click on account information and if you're signed in your transported to [Edit Yahoo Account Information] where you confirm your password then have full access to change the following information....
Your Password
Gender ummm.. wonder how often this is used ;-)
Industry you work in
Email Address
Alternate Email Address
Time Zone

All your contact details like address, country, phone, fax etc etc
but don't forget that after you've edited these fields you must click on Finish for the changes to take effect.

In Account information you can also create and edit your profiles (see our section on [Alias/Multiple ID's]), create a people search listing and sign up for a home page.. but what you CAN'T change in here is the name of the ID you orginally signed up for, the yahoo email address that you get with that ID, your birthdate and your Challenge Question.. in fact the only one out of those that can be actually be changed at all is the [Challenge Question] and to do that you need to write to Yahoo requesting this be done (more info about doing this is available at [Changing your Challenge Question] further down this page).

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Changing Your Password...
It really does pay to change your password on a regular basis.. a hassle I know, but better safe than sorry and Yahoo makes this really simple to do.. simply log into [Edit your Yahoo Account Information], and click on Change Password at the very top of your Yahoo ID Card. If prompted, confirm your current passwork then fill out the required fields on the refering page..

that being your OLD password and your NEW password which has to be entered twice.. this just confirms that you haven't made typo ;-) Hit Save and you done :-)

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Forgotten Your Password...
For most of the Yahoo features we access we need to enter our Yahoo ID and Password, if you let windows (or another program) manage this for you your ok but there will come a day when you need to manually enter your password.. it's then that you're faced with the inevitable OMG what on earth was it? Yahoo has provided us with a very helpful page [Yahoo Password lookup/Sign-in Problems] that quickly provides us with a new one if we can't remember the old... if of course we can remember the basic information that's required...
Yahoo forgotten Password help
that being your birthdate
your ZIP/Postal code
your Country
your Yahoo ID
you the alternate email address you provided when you signed up for your Yahoo ID card.
Now if you got a bit "creative" when you signed up for your account you're really stuck unless you can remember the information you used.. so think hard if you're in this situation and start thinking up a new ID if you've hit a mental block ;-)
If you can remember all this then your aok.. simply enter the your birthdate, zip/post code, country and your ID and hit Get NEW password. This really is a NEW one, you won't be told your existing one. Once all the information has been entered and it's been confirmed you're then taken to a page that prompts you for the answer to your Challenge/Secret Question (you set this yourself when you signed up for your Yahoo account)...
Yahoo Challenge/Secret QuestionThe question is displayed in bold text at the top.. simply enter the required answer, hit Display New Password and a brand new password is then generated for you on the referring page and your away again :-) Your first stop should be to go in and change this password to a new one which you can do at [Edit your Yahoo Account Information].

If you can't provide the correct answer/s to the required fields then you can go no further and the only option you have is to sign up for a new ID.

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Changing your Challenge (Secret) question...
As stated above, when you have forgotten your password and want to get a new one, Yahoo (as does Hotmail) provides a Challenge Question (also referred to as the Secret Question) so simply enter the correct answer to the question and you're immediately issued with a new password.. simple. The Challenge Question is set when you first sign up for your Yahoo ID, the option to change it isn't in your Account Settings.. you need to email Yahoo with the details to do this but before we go any further let me tell you a wee story...

Not too long ago I got an IM from a distraught young lass.. someone had "hacked" into her account and changed her password and she couldn't access it anymore. Her only option was to to sign up for another ID to get back online to try and convince her friends that the little toe rag who had taken her account (and was having a blast upsetting everyone her friends list) wasn't in fact her at all. Not a nice situation for her or her friends. She was very distraught and completely shocked that an "expert hacker" would want her identity! So how did this happen? Very easy... with no expert hacking required and in most cases you'll find that the offending toe rag is in fact no "expert" at all, just someone who knows you well... a little too well.

When I was talking to her we got into some idle chat.. just the usual stuff like where she was from, how old she was, any pets etc.. she happily provided all this information which of course most of us do and generally this is ok... unless of course you've been a little bit naive when you've set your challenge question. While we were talking I trotted along and checked out her profile..hmm.. she had her homepage listed... so off I trotted to have a look at... a very nice personal website complete with her birthday, pictures of her and her cat, where she lived.. nice house.. pics of her family complete with names... favourite colour was purple.. cool same as mine ;-) her favourite food, best friends etc etc.. now as you know to reset your password (or for someone else to!) you need the correct Birthdate, Zip/Postal Code, Country and Yahoo ID... I had this and more as it was all posted on her website...

Birthdate... her age was in her profile, she told me the birthdate (what star sign are you? really! omg same as my sister! what date is yours?), as did her website which proudly stated "I was born on..."
Country... she told me this (as most of us do), it was also available in her profile and on her website
Zip Code... generally a little harder to find but her profile told me the state and country and her website gave me a little more... right beside the photo of her outside her house "this is our house in ....." From there it was very to get the zip code as you can pull them up online for just about any suburb/town/city in the world
ID... I was talking to her at the time and it makes no difference if it is the default ID or an alias. Perhaps this an area Yahoo could look at changing.. as in you can ONLY change the password if the ID is the main Yahoo default (the one that you orginally signed up for).
All I needed now was the answer to her Challenge/Secret Question.. this was her downfall. While I was talking to her I headed over to Yahoo's Password lookup and entered all the required fields with her details.. suddenly I was prompted for the answer to her secret question which was "The name of my Cat?" The answer was easily obtained... when we were talking about pets she told me she had a cat called Douglas and also on her website was a cute pic of her and the cat in question.. directly underneath this was "this is me and my cat Douglas". I asked her for permission to change her password, gave her the new password I was going to set and told her to log off and in 5 mintues come back online and try to get a new password issued from [Yahoo Password Lookup/Sign-in Problems] using the information she provided at signing up.. being birthdate, country, zip and ID.. when that failed she was to sign in using the password we had agreed on.

Off she toddled.. I entered the answer to her secret question (Douglas), obtained the new yahoo issued password, trotted along to [Edit Yahoo Account Information], set a new country and zip code (this is what her "expert hacker" had done to prevent her being able to get a new password issued again as her original information became invalid) I then put in the password we had agreed on and logged out of her account. She logged back on completely stunned that her attempt to get a new password issued had failed (information provided was "invalid") and that the new password we had agreed on early was already operational. Needless to say she was a little more enlightening by how quickly this can be done but more than a little upset that Yahoo's security was so slack.. but was it? Nope not in this regard. Yahoo has done everything possible to protect her (and our) ID's.. in fact they have done more to protect us than what most of us have done to protect ourselves. Her downfall was of course her challenge/secret question and when I asked her what her secret question had been for her "hacked" ID she told me it was the same one... "the name of my cat?" oh dear! We spoke for a while longer trying to come up with a good Challenge Question... my mothers name? NO! this was listed on her website. What class am in at school? NO! every other person in your class and perhaps school can answer this! Where does my nana live? NO! This was also on her website! My favourite band? NO! this was on her profile! Getting the point? We finally settled on the favourite uncles most hated vegetable.. not something you'd often discuss or post on the net ;-) For her it was something easy to remember... so when it comes to choosing your challenge question think outside the square.

By now you're well aware that your Challenge Question it is vital to the security of your ID so choose it with great care as it is afterall your last line of defence. Go to [Yahoo Password Lookup/Sign-in Problems] enter you're information and request a new password.. check your Challenge Question, could it be answered by someone you know? could it be answered by someone who has visited your website? or checked out your profile? If it is then quickly hop to it and put in motion the steps the change it..
You can go to [Yahoo signup and registration help] feedback form fill out the required fields (ID, email address/alternate email address in this case), from the drop down menu select How do I change my secret question and answer, add any additional comments then hit send, then sit back and wait for the instructions that will be emailed to you or you can leap to that straight away as the instructions are as follows...

The first email will give you the details on how to go about changing it.. the email states clearly...
"..You may update your Password Challenge Question and Secret Answer only if you can provide the answer to your current question. To protect the security and privacy of Yahoo! accounts, we will provide login help only when a correct answer to your current question is provided..."

basically the instructions are as follows...
send an email from your existing yahoo email account or your alternate email account to []
Subject line must be "Re: Challenge Question and Secret Answer."
then In the body of the email clearly state..
your Yahoo! ID
the birthdate
the ZIP or Postal code
the current yahoo ID email address
the alternate email address listed in your [Yahoo Account Information]
your current Challenge Question AND Secret Answer
the NEW Challenge Question and Secret Answer

now for your secret answer, the inital email we received stated..
"Your secret answer is case-sensitive, as such, the capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and spacing of both your old and new Secret Answer are important. To clarify:
are different and would need to be entered exactly as they appear.
We will copy the Secret Answer exactly as it appears in your email..."

this might in fact be the case but for the one we submitted (we alternated the upper and lower and case for the answer) it made no difference how it was entered... hmmm :- That aside.. once you have detailed all the information Yahoo requires doublecheck it for typos then send it off to be processed.. we sent ours on 8th November and received a confirmation email on the 14th stating that it had been processed.. this had in fact been done a few days prior to receiving to email as we checked daily so if in doubt pop along and check your account anyway. Once you have you new Challenge Question and Secret Answer don't forget it.. you cannot do diddly without it ;-) Once you have this don't forget to go along to [Edit Yahoo Account Information] and change your password.

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Deleting your account...
If there comes a time when you want to delete your Yahoo account it is possible to do this but remember you will loose the following as well
GeoCities webpage
Mail account
Address Book
basically it's anything that you use your ID and password to enter.

Quickly trot around and clear all your information from these services, get your friends addresses, ID's etc, print off any emails you wish to keep, check your briefcase for files, photos etc, make a copy of your website in case you ever want to re-instate it. When you think you have everything ready head over to [Terminating your Yahoo Account] and log in with the ID and password of the account you wish to delete.

When you sign into the page it will then list your current default ID and beneath that all the alias ID's that have been assigned to it..

If you're wanted to keep your alias ID's then remember you can add these to another default ID but do this before you delete your account.

When your ready to proceed read the fine print, it clearly states...
"Before continuing, please consider the following information.
By terminating this account, you will lose your Yahoo! ID, Mail account, and Profile names. We will also delete your account data and settings across the Yahoo! network. This includes the contents of your Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Address Book, Yahoo! GeoCities, Yahoo! Briefcase, My Yahoo! and more.
In most cases your account will be deactivated and then deleted from our user registration database in approximately 90 days. This delay is necessary to discourage users from engaging in fraudulent activity. Additionally, due to the limited number of names available, we may allow other users to sign up for and use your current Yahoo! ID and profile names after your account has been deleted..."

Further down the page it states that you're [Yahoo People Search] won't be deleted so remember to do that... if your ID was created/edited prior to September 1998 then use the [Remove Email Listing] form that Yahoo provides if you ID was created/edited after the instuctions point o the [Edit Yahoo People Search]

When your certain you're ready to let the ID go then enter your password, hit Yes Terminate this account...

and your done..

you are no more :-)
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Report Harrassment, Abuse etc to Yahoo!
Ok.. so you've had enough and you just take it anymore? Report it! If the behaviour is threatening, offensive or abuse then you can and should report it as soon as possible. These people are not as anonymous as they think they are so take matters into your own hands and get the ball rolling. Yahoo has many options available...

use the following forms on Yahoo's site:
[Yahoo! Messenger Abuse Report]
[Yahoo! Chat Abuse Report]

If it's neither Messenger or Chat related use this form and select the appropriate category from the drop down menu...
[Yahoo! Report Member Conduct]

you can also send them an email...

Note: Keep detailed logs of everything! If it's a persistant problem then enable the [Archiving Feature], and if you've reported the problem to Yahoo and you're certain they are dealing with it then put the offending persons ID on [Ignore]

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Yahoo! Contact Details...
some people have had good results with reporting 'hacked' profiles, accounts etc so if need be and your within a relatively inexpensive calling range then by all means give them a bell...
Phone (408) 349-3300

or put pen to paper....
Fax (408) 349-3301

Physical Location...
701 First Avenue
California 94089

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST

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Yahoo! Documents.. Privacy Policy, Terms of Service etc...
so you want to check out some of Yahoo's rules, regulations and policies? Here's the links...

[Yahoo! Privacy Policy]
[Yahoo! Terms of Service]
[Yahoo! DisclaimersLegal Information]
[Yahoo! Copyright/Intellectual Property Agent Notice]
[Yahoo! Data Storage]

Family/Children Specific...
[Yahoo! Children's Privacy Policy (7-12yrs)]
[Yahoo! Family Accounts]

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Last Updated ( Friday, 02 January 2004 )