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A person inquired about Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)‘s e-mail deactivation policy. He further asked if he needs to continue reading his messages on its site to maintain the active status of his account. The person received an e-mail from Verizon late in 2015 saying if he hasn’t accessed his verizon.net email account in over 180 days then the email account will be deleted and cannot be reactivated.

The email said to avoid that eventuality log into webmail.verizon.com and check email within the next 30 days. However, users don’t need to log into that site every few weeks solely to preserve their e-mail address. An e-mail policy document says that reading messages in an app such as the Mail program on an Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone or a Mac is acceptable as is visiting Verizon’s web-mail site to set up automatic forwarding of Verizon e-mail to another email address.

Also, any of these types of access resets the expiration date on the user’s e-mail account to 180 days. If those 180 days expire without the user accessing email will he get a reminder to check his account within 30 days.

If the user has opted long ago to move to a third-party e-mail service, he may not put much importance on the address supplied by his Internet provider. But the user needs to be sure that he hasn’t provided that old e-mail address as a recovery account for any services currently used. He needs to verify that before dumping that e-mail account.

Another question is why Verizon is following such a policy regarding its e-mail address. Ray McConville Verizon spokesman replied in December that the company has a big number of these “inactive” e-mail accounts. Hence, such a policy is being followed. Removing a mailbox after 180 days diminishes the chance of it being compromised and later utilized by a third party. Hence, reducing the chances of data exposure.

While Verizon could have expressed its policy in a better manner, having inactive e-mail addresses is a real business risk. The company should allow individuals who don’t desire verizon.net e-mail accounts to shut them down instantly. Also, the email settings in the email accounts should be such that only messages from select senders are accepted.

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