Protecting your data when selling a device

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 --- 9:15pm

As phones become more sophisticated, we store more and more data on them, use them for more and more tasks, and put personal information more and more at risk.

With smartphones, you've got probably photos, videos, your entire phone list, even credit card information stored on there. And if you don't take the proper precautions, you become vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and blackmail.

These days folks are always trying to keep up on the latest technology; trading up for the newest and best on the market. And it's so easy to ditch your old devices and make some green in the process. You can sell online, at places like gazelle.com, Amazon, EBay, and Craigslist. You can also sell devices in person, back to your phone carrier or at a pawn shop

But, before you fork over your phone, listen up! If you have an SD card, take it out. The same thing goes for any memory cards.

Most newer phones, like the iPhone, have a factory reset button under Settings. But, if you have an older model, you'll want to double check your work.

"On some of the older phones, you can go in, go through and pull data it off” says Mike Massino, an Information Security instructor at Madison College.

If that leaves you a bit hesitant, you have to ask yourself: “is the value of my personal data worth more than the phone I'm trying to sell?”

Nick Koshollek, owner of Tech Heroes in Madison, says companies have taken great strides, in recent years, to help consumers protect personal information.

"We're actually required by law to wipe all the devices and to remove all user data before we resell the devices again” says Koshollek.

Seeing personal information left on devices isn't shocking for Koshollek. He says folks come in all the time with data still on their phone...a scammer's dream come true

Does this mean you shouldn't sell your old devices? No. But when in doubt, take your phone to an expert like Koshollek, before shipping it off to a new owner.


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