My partner has a unique name, and while we can't truly be certain we're almost 100% sure she is the only one in the world with it.
Once upon a time she had a hotmail account with her name as the username, along the lines of firstname.lastname@example.org, and for various reasons she deactivated it.
We recently discovered that someone has re-registered the same account with her name. Apparently hotmail accounts get recycled after a period of time after deactivation (somewhat like phone numbers I guess) and they become fair game for anyone.
Now perhaps there is someone out there with her name who just happened to create a hotmail account, BUT we were able to find out that the recovery email address ended in @126.com, a major Chinese email provider.
The hotmail team suggested raising an abuse case on the chance that it is being used for spam etc. but we haven't heard anything about it.
This is worrying. Why would someone do this and what can she do to protect herself? There's a good chance she had other accounts connected to this email that were forgotten about, in fact the reason we discovered this is because she had an Apple ID connected to it that we tried to regain access to.