Family Haunted by Disturbing Emails From Dead Mother


cassie woodsAnd you thought your email spam problem had gotten out of hand! One family is having an especially hard time enjoying the holiday season, thanks to a ruthless, heartless hacker who has hijacked a deceased woman's email account. Cassie Woods' mom, Paula Chase, died of the untreatable autoimmune disease scleroderma two years ago, and two months ago, she started getting tons of email from her late mother's Yahoo account, the subjects of which were ones we've all seen before, "Male enhancement!" "Work at home!" "Cheap Viagra!" 

As you might imagine, seeing these emails "sent" from her mother's email account is especially harrowing for Woods. But Woods and her husband, an Iraq vet, have faced nothing but frustration while trying to get Yahoo to cancel the account.

I do wish someone would tell this couple that they could very easily create a filter so that these emails are junked right away ... or they could switch to Gmail, which is the best at preventing spam from making its way to your inbox. But, at the same time, it's really ridiculous that Yahoo can't instantly dissolve a deceased person's email account. The company is claiming they need a death certificate to do it, and so, Woods is reportedly in the process of getting that to them ... even though, as local news reporters pointed out, you can easily Google Chase's death record. Crazy!

This frustrating story is just another example of how some tech/web companies have gotten so big, so bureaucratic in how they're run that people have to navigate miles of red tape to appeal to them when faced with upsetting situations. Where's the humanity? Kind of ironic being that the Internet was initially built to help people connect more, not less. 

With hope, news coverage of the Woods' case lights a fire under Yahoo to get this taken care of ASAP and do what they can to tighten the security of defunct email accounts like Paula Chase's, so other families don't have to endure similar anguish.

What do you think about Cassie Woods' situation? 


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Kjamaya Kjamaya

Yahoo gets hacked alot!!! I had to cancel my yahoo account because it was hacked

ericabb ericabb

Yahoo does seem to get hacked quite a bit.  But I do support them in this requirement; too many vindictive or bored aholes could just say someone died.  If Yahoo doesn't check on it, then they're opening themselves to a lot of hurt.  I do hope that they move quickly once they receive the certificate.

nonmember avatar Aura

Sorry but, what difference does it make? Or is it because it's not the mother herself cancelling the account? People cancel accounts all the time and shouldn't Yahoo have proof that this account has not been used in 2 years? WTF?

mommy... mommyto2gr8ones

My husband has tried to cancel his own yahoo account several times and to no avail.  I have gotten lots of spammy emails from his yahoo account although he hasn't used it in over a year and has multiple times asked them to close it.  Finally, I got the bright idea, went into his account, DELETED all of his contacts and info and then sent a complaint into them about how people are being harrased b/c they can't do their jobs.  I have had a yahoo account for at least 5 years and have only been hacked once but I am getting more and more disappointed in them and their inability to do their jobs.

nonmember avatar herp

I've had yahoo as my main email for over 10 years. But yes it does get hacked. At one point I deleted ALL of my contacts because it was embarassing to me to have to apologize to my boss for spam from my account. To fix it change your password.

In the case of a deceased person there should NOT be a hold-up of deleting the account; if the person is still alive they can request it be re-opened. Kind of ridiculous and sad that they cannot create better security to prevent this. Also scary that email accounts with so much important information can be comprimised so easily.

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