Do you know where your old email addresses are?

Here’s something that isn’t really news because it’s not new, but that nevertheless got us thinking.

UK mobile phone provider EE, now part of the BT Group, started life as an admixture of two former competitors of BT.

In a previous life, EE was known by the long name of “everything everywhere” (thankfully for professional writers everywhere, that orthographic oddity didn’t last), and in a life before that, it was two separate mobile providers, T-Mobile and Orange.

As often happens in mergers, acquisitions and agglomerations of this sort, the new company often starts out with a bunch of well-recognised brands and services, only to find them fading out over the years until they’re little used and liable to cause more confusion than comfort amongst customers.

At that point, it makes all sorts of sense to simplify, and to dispense with the old brands and branding entirely.

Of course, ditching an old brand isn’t just about logos and letterheads: it can be about domain names, too, and their close relatives, email addresses.

In fact, EE is now just one month away from officially killing off a whole list of UK email domains, formerly part of Orange Email.

Vanishing forever from the EE canon at the end of May 2017 are all email addresses ending in the following:

    Orange.net
    Orangehome.co.uk
    Wanadoo.co.uk
    Freeserve.co.uk
    Fsbusiness.co.uk
    Fslife.co.uk 
    Fsmail.net
    Fsworld.co.uk
    Fsnet.co.uk

Big deal, you might suppose.

After all, we’re guessing that many if not most users around the world, including in the UK, have already made the move to webmail services such as Outlook.com or Gmail.

But here’s a thought.

Whenever old email addresses get killed off, even ones you think you’re done with altogether, you may nevertheless end up in trouble if you are in the habit of “autoforwarding” your old addresses whenever you switch to a new provider, rather than explicitly shutting those old addresses down.

(You don’t need to shut them down instantly, but you need to make a plan to discontinue them after a while, and then stick to that plan.)

In particular, you could end up in serious trouble if you leave an old email address set up as the password recovery destination for any of your online accounts.

Indeed, you may have forgetten about some of your old email addresses entirely, because the autoforwarder means you’ll still see any occasional emails that come in, without needing to think about how they got to you.

But when the service provider finally pulls the plug on your old account by shutting the entire service down, as EE is about to do here…

..then the autoforwarder gets shut down too, so those password recovery emails will vanish without trace.

What to do?

Don’t forget to review your online account settings regularly.

Make sure that all your password recovery email addresses are set for delivery directly to your current, preferred email address, rather than set indirectly via a mail forwarding service.

It doesn’t matter whether your’re a current EE customer, a former Orange customer, or whatever…

…never let any of your password recovery email settings get stuck up that proverbial creek without a paddle.