Phantom AOL eMail

I’m still getting mail from dead people.  An AOL account belonging to a friend of mine who passed away almost three years ago has been hijacked and sends me at least one spammy email a day.  I tried to block her emails using my spam blocker, but some still get through.  She had three or four AOL email addresses, and all of them send me spam email.

Now I’m getting spam email from a mechanic I used a few years ago.  The same type of spam email, and I’ve tried to call him, but he appears to be out of business.

But good old AOL, they aren’t out of business, and they never delete email addresses in their system, so I’m destined to get multiple emails a day from these defunct accounts.  And seriously, mail from the dead is just creepy!  AOL doesn’t seem to be responsive to requests to shut down these accounts (I’ve tried that) and they don’t even want to talk to you unless you have an AOL ID to sign on with.  There is no way I want to sign up for an AOL account just so I can complain about another AOL account.

Short of turning on blocking, spam filtering, etc., what is the solution?  How many of millions of AOL (or Yahoo, or Hotmail) email addresses are really defunct, but still sending out spam email because they’ve been hacked?  And why does it seem so hard for these emails to get turned off or deleted?  I sure wish I knew the answer.