Avoiding Smart Phone Identity Theft
Up to 85% of the smart phones recently purchased
from an eBay online auction revealed highly
confidential personal information was still
intact and available for identity theft.*
With over 220 million U.S. cell phone subscribers
there exists a huge opportunity for identity thieves
as the average consumer resells or recycles their
phone as part of an upgrade decision every 1.5 years.
In recent tests conducted by two different technology
security firms, "smart" phones legally purchased from
online auction sites revealed the following snippets from
over thousands of pages recovered:
- Contact lists containing names, address, & phone numbers
- Bank accounts with passwords
- Medical prescriptions
- Payment receipts for utility payments
- Personal pictures of the owner's children
- Web site searches
- Text messages between a married man and his lover
- A company's plans to win a multi-million dollar contract
Unfortunately, these type of data in the hands of an identity
thief can bring financial ruin and years of emotional distress.
"You could recreate someone's entire life
from the data you recover from these devices"
So, our tip for today is to help prevent identity
theft from happening from unknowingly providing
your confidential data to potential fraudsters.
Before you upgrade to a new cell phone, make sure to
securely erase your data by conducting what is
known as "zero-out reset" or "factory reset". Also,
fully delete any contact addresses, photos, email, &
text messages from your smart phone even before
you conduct the factory reset.
Finally, here's a handy resource we found which
provides smart phone specific information you can
use to destroy your confidential information to
keep it from being recovered later.
*Portions excerpted courtesy of the Washington Post.