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Thieves Now Stealing Personal Info From Smart Devices

For years, criminals have used your credit card receipts, tax statements, and other bills to steal your personal information. With technology becoming a bigger part of our lives, thieves are now turning to your laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
For years, criminals have used your credit card receipts, tax statements, and other bills to steal your personal information.  With technology becoming a bigger part of our lives, thieves are now turning to your laptops, tablets, and cell phones.

WFFT's Audra Streetman spoke with a tech expert at A-Plus Computers to learn how to wipe your devices clean of any personal information before your sell or get rid of them.

Cellphones, laptops, and tablets are a part of our daily lives.  We use them to send emails, make phone calls, and store personal information.

"If someone wants to spend a little bit of money, they might be able to get date off a drive that's only been wiped one time."

What happens when you sell these devices to strangers?  Thieves are now turning to technology to steal your personal information.

"If you left information with a bank account password, it's definitely going to be possible for them to recover that."

Turns out a lot of the work you can do on your own.

"Tablets and phones are different.  They have a wipe and restore.  It's all different than a computer wipe and restore.  It's much more secure."

The factory reset button on cell phones and tablets will usually erase all of your personal information, but if you're looking to sell a used laptop, you may want to visit an expert first to completely wipe your hard drive.

"To wipe a hard drive there's really nothing the home user can do securely.  If someone has data-recovery software, there's about a 60% chance someone can get something."

It turns out that even after you set your computer, thieves can purchase date-recovery software that pulls information you thought was erased.

"We do a lot of used computer purchases.  Most people are concerned about data."

The most responsible thing you can do before recycling or selling a laptop, is to completely erase the hard drive.  Otherwise, you'll risk exposing sensitive personal data that you previously deleted.  Data like social security numbers, account numbers, or passwords.

"We charge at most a fee of $50.00 to wipe a device."

A-Plus Computers offers a service that uses data destruction software to completely wipe a hard drive.  If you are simply getting rid of a laptop or computer, you also have the option to physically destroy the hard drive to ensure the data is no longer available.
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