Every year, as many as 10% of the US population fall victim to identity theft. When recycling your old computer, it is essential to delete your data safely to ensure you’re not passing on your personal information to someone else. Here are five ways that computer recycling can protect your data and why it’s essential to get your data professionally removed from your old PC.
Don’t Be An Identity Theft Statistic
You might think that clearing your computer’s recycle bin is a secure enough way to remove your data. But digital forensics can linger on the system for months after you initially ‘deleted’ it from the system. That’s why a hard drive shredding service is essential for securely removing your personal data from the computer permanently. Leaving your data exposed on an old computer leaves your data open to identity theft and fraud.
Protect Yourself From Hackers
We’ve all had that situation where you’ve accidentally downloaded a seemingly innocent enough game or program that’s caused your email (or even your bank account), to be hacked. From pillaging virtual bins to actual rubbish dumps, if you don’t dispose of your data securely, you leave your email, bank account and personal details vulnerable to hackers. Hackers can affect everything from your personal finances to your business account, so avoid this entirely by getting your data destroyed securely.
Avoid Being A Victim of Systematic Identity Theft
Your data might not solely be used to commit identity theft under your name. Systematic identity theft is when an element of your personal data, like a Social Security Number is stolen and abused. Fraudsters commonly target a child’s social security number as it is less likely to be flagged than that of an adult with a real job. Protect your family’s personal data by thinking about safe disposal before you get rid of your old computer.
Stay Safe From Years Of Data Theft
Simply throwing away your old laptop could mean that you don’t find out about data theft until years later. Criminals often target children’s personal details, meaning that they may not realize they have been a victim until they purchase a car or apply to college. Unless you regularly check your bank account or file a tax return (as you may do as an adult), you wouldn’t necessarily spot the warning signs of identity theft.
Avoid Long Term Issues
If you have been a victim of years of identity theft, it can take on average up to six months to unpick what payments or contracts were unauthorized purchases. It also depends on whether one individual was using your data, or your personal details were sold to multiple parties online. Suppose they took out phone contracts or even paid medical bills in your name. In that case, the fraudulent and genuine personal data can become intertwined and cause issues further down the line when you’re seeking treatment or taking out a contract with a provider.
If you are concerned about the possibility of identity theft, as well as taking the precautionary measures mentioned in this article, you might want to consider taking advantage of a credit protection service such as LegalShield Identity Theft or TrustedID AARP. A search for “best identity theft protection comparison” will bring up other suitable options, any one of which can help to provide you with peace of mind.
As for the possibility of inadvertently providing personal information to hackers, your best option is to avoid any chance of your details being used in identity theft by getting your old computer destroyed securely. Destroy data securely after you no longer use your old PC. Contact Potomac eCycle for more advice and pricing on secure and reliable data disposal today.