Discarded cell phones could carry personal information - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Discarded cell phones could carry personal information

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ATLANTA -

Your old cell phone could reveal a lot more about you than you may want.

Our sister station FOX 9 in Minneapolis
took six old smartphones to computer forensic expert Mark Lanterman.  The station said that each phone had been erased beforehand. He mined the phone memories for hidden treasures that might be used in a scam against the former owners.  
It didn't take Lanterman's forensic experts long to find lots of interesting information, including old Facebook credentials, voice mail information – even where the phones have been.

So what can you do to ensure that your information doesn't end up in the wrong hands?

The options include: sell it, keep it or donate it. Depending on you level of paranoia, you might want to add a fourth option, destroying.

The reality is that most people are going to the first three options.  Even a used smartphone can be worth a couple hundred dollars, so wiping it clean is not only the best option.  It's the only option.

The folks at Verizon in Atlanta showed FOX 5's Doug Evans how to wipe an iPhone.  It's pretty easy setting that takes a few minutes and, no matter what kind of phone you have, in the end the screen should like it did when it was brand new.

Since 2001, Verizon says it has collected more than nine million donated phones for charity without consequences to the former owners. They say all donated phones are wiped clean of any personal data.

If you have concerns about how to wipe clean you device, contact your carrier and they can walk you through the steps.

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