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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Identity Theft Risk Factor: Buying a New Cell Phone

If you’ve ever lost a cell phone or exchanged it without erasing the flash memory, you are at extremely high risk for identity theft. It’s very important to use great caution when you’re disposing your cell phone — equally as cautious as you’d be about erasing the hard drive of your computer before getting rid of it.

Always… erase all the data you’ve stored on your cell phone before you return it to your provider, or have the provider erase the memory in your presence. Because… cell phones store data on a microchip. Even information you think is erased can be retrieved by hackers using commercially available software.

Always… safely download ring tones and other programs only from reputable, well-known sites. Because… identity thieves are constantly surfing the Internet looking to steal or trade your personal and financial information as it is being exchanged with service providers. Don’t ever give them the opportunity.

Always… make sure all of your family members know how to avoid identity theft — and that they clearly understand what they need to do to protect their own cell phones. Because… if your name and phone number are stored on the phone of someone you know and it gets lost or stolen, your personal information could land in the hands of identity thieves.

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