E-mail imposters: what can be done?

A guy at work says that someone has openned a Yahoo mail account with his name and then emailed his friends some innocent message.
He thinks it may be one of his friends who did this, but he is not sure. What can be done to verify this? Is it technically a crime (lives in Ontario, Canada)? If so, what agency is responsible for this?

First of all, contact Yahoo. I’m not sure if they’ll do anything unless the sender violates their policies, though. An innocuous message probably won’t get a reaction (from anyone, actully).

If the account sends threatening or otherwise offensive messages Yahoo will be more likely to act (though they are slow).

I don’t think there’s anything to prevent someone from using your name for a Yahoo account.

There is a site from which you can send an email to anyone and make up any sender email address you want. So someone may not necessarily have opened an account, but just used that site and made up the sender name. The site is:


I’m pretty sure it’s legal, but one can imagine the damage that can be done with this. Thay claim it’s for practical jokes…

What about the question of legality? Is it illegal (in Ontario) to open a free Yahoo account with someone else’s name and send a message to others?

It is fraud - even if there was no attempt to make money or anything like that from the process?