If your credit card is lost or stolen, you simply make a phone call, report it missing, and a new one is issued. If your drivers licence is lost or stolen then the process is a little more costly and more inconvenient to you, but ultimately it is just replaced and the old one cancelled.
If your identity is stolen, you cannot simply have it replaced. Having someone masquerading as you could have very serious effects that last years, and in some cases a whole lifetime. Imagine for a moment being tracked down because you promised to pay for merchandise, a credit card, a loan, or because you committed a crime — and then trying to explain that it was not you but rather someone else using your name.
People steal identities by acquiring personal information such as family members, pictures, work history, friends — and knowing your personal opinions and habits allow them to achieve a near perfect impersonation of their target identity.
One of the most complete and neatest packages that a thief could hope for is your old computer. It contains everything that they could ever want, and with the least amount of work required on their part. In most cases all passwords have been “remembered” and a thief can gather what they need relatively quickly. Email accounts, social networking, messengers, web history – all being accessed as “you” …. and the saga begins without any warnings or indications that anything is out of the ordinary.
It is becoming more and more important that digital tools that contain data or provide access to your life, be disposed of properly through responsible and credible recyclers.
To reduce your risk, you should consider the following:
- Is someone offering to purchase your computer, tablet or cellphone?
- Are their premises secure?
- Is there video surveillance?
- If material is being shipped out, can it be secure after the truck leaves?
- Do you know that the organization have qualified staff to ensure your data is safe?
- Does the organization ensure that background checks are done on everyone that may handle your data?
- Does the recycler state that personal data removal is your responsibility?
- If you give your computer to someone so that they can in turn give to someone else, do you know that your data and access is not being passed on too?
E-waste recycling, including computers and cellphones, has generated many new entrants into the marketplace. Unfortunately many are simply looking for profit and do little to recycle responsibly. The more profitable the “recycling stream” is, the more questionable it likely is.
Digital Friends in Sarnia has been recycling electronics since 2002, and is locally owned and operated.
When you recycle your electronics through Digital Friends, you know that Digital Friends takes every precaution to ensure that your identity is safe.