Deleting old digital accounts you no longer use is important for your online privacy and security, and here’s why:
With every online account (yes, even old and ‘insignificant’ accounts), you continuously enrich your digital footprint, leaving behind a significant source of data for third parties to access and exploit.
Any public-facing information in a dormant online account significantly increases the risk of data theft, non-consensual data use and even identity theft.
In all your time online, you’ve most likely signed up for hundreds of online services or platforms you no longer use or have forgotten about completely. Now, while you may not recollect these endeavors, the accounts may still be around, leaving any personal information they may contain up for grabs to any opportunistic or malicious party.
For example, if one of these platforms suffers a data breach, or is compromised, an attacker can easily grab your email address, username, age, name, phone number, credentials or other PII and financial data.
Additionally, you may unwittingly be providing a service or company you no longer use a steady flow of data by having allowed it continuous access or permission to your calendar, contact information or financial accounts (think of subscription-based streaming services with automatic renewal options).
Exposure to those privacy and other digital security risks increase even more if you’re guilty of password recycling or reuse, leaving you susceptible to multiple account compromises.
Tracking down old accounts and canceling or deleting them can be time-consuming. Here are some tips to help you on your journey:
Deletion processes may differ for every account you discover and wish to permanently get rid of. Here’s what you can do to make help expedite the process: