What's on your personal computer? Your name, your bank account, even your credit card information. Same with your phone in many cases.
And recycling electronic devices without erasing that info is asking for trouble.
"You're literally giving your personal information out to the criminal world," said Larry Daniel of Guardian Digital Forensics.
How to Erase Personal Info
The best way to protect yourself is to erase your personal data before turning in any device.
On the iPhone it's easy. Go to "settings." Click on "general" then press "reset" and select "erase all content and settings."
Our partners at Consumer Reports Magazine say erasing info on Android phones is a little more complicated.
Usually you go to 'settings,' and choose 'privacy.' Then you have to consult the manual online for the next steps.
Cleaning a Computer
To erase a PC, you need to download software. Some products will cost $25 or more.
However, Consumer Reports recommends DBan.org , which is free.
Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports explained "you download the software and put it onto a CD. Then you put the CD into the computer's disc drive and follow the instructions to erase the hard drive's contents."
With Apple computers, the original operating-system DVD comes with software to erase your files.
Think you don't have enough time to wipe your device? Think again. Larry Daniel said "criminal enterprises live off of personal data. They love a hard drive that they can get their hands on."
So clean those drives, so you don't waste your money.
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