Clear Old Cellphones Before Upgrading
September 7, 2016
New smartphones are released every few months, and many Arkansans upgrade their current phones with the newest products. But before you make the switch, it is important to clear all data and personal information from old phones before recycling, selling or returning the old phone to the provider.
Oftentimes, personal information can be left on cellphones, making it easy for identity thieves to find your personal and financial information.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to help Arkansans protect their personal information.
“Many of us want to take advantage of the latest technologies, including new smartphones when they are released,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But if you recycle or sell an old phone without transferring or deleting your information, you could lose contact information, text messages, photos and videos. Leaving personal information on the phone could also leave you open to identity theft if the phone falls into the wrong hands.”
The Federal Trade Commission notes that consumers should take the following steps before recycling or selling an old phone:
- Back up the data on a computer or on the cloud.
- Log out of services like email and social media, then clear the app data from the phone.
- Contact your service provider about switching service to a new device or terminating service if you are switching to a new provider.
- Factory reset your phone to wipe it clean of personal data and restore it to factory settings. The owner’s manual will outline the process step-by-step.
- Remove or delete the data on the phone’s SIM or SD card. Some data, including photos, can remain on the SIM or SD card even after a factory reset.
After the phone has been wiped clean and all of the personal information has been deleted, double check any places information could be hiding, including contacts, phone logs, voicemails, emails, text messages, downloads and other folders, search histories, photos and apps.
Many cellphones can be recycled with the manufacturer, service provider or a charity group. Most have programs that refurbish the phones or recycle their components.
For more information about identity theft and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.