Identity thieves use Yahoo! email to purchase goods online

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Over three quarters of suspected identity thefts use Yahoo! email accounts, according to a report published yesterday.

The research, completed by, found that consumers using popular internet based email addresses, such as Yahoo! and Hotmail, to make online purchases are more likely to be blacklisted as identity thieves by retailers.

It found that companies accepting transactions from such email accounts are up to seven times more likely to have to refund a consumer's credit card because the card owner doesn't recognise the purchase, compared to customers using other email providers. According to the report 82 per cent of suspected identity theft attempts use Yahoo! addresses.

The report suggests that businesses are experiencing losses from refund requests through the chargeback system, which gives genuine buyers the option to reverse a credit card transaction if they fail to recognise a purchase appearing on their bank statements.

Barry Stamp, joint managing director, believes this may force some companies to stop dealing with customers using Yahoo! or Hotmail addresses.

"A Yahoo! email address appears to be the weapon of choice for the professional identity thief, because the user of the address is untraceable in most cases. Yahoo! is also very popular and has a good name for reliability - an ideal thing to hide behind for identity thieves," he said.

"Most internet retailers have little defence against a chargeback, other than to blacklist the card. Most will need to take additional steps to authenticate the purchaser before handing over goods and services or reconsider the commercial wisdom of continuing to deal with purchasers using high risk email addresses," he added.

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