SPECIAL REPORT: Deleting your digital footprint - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Deleting your digital footprint

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Thousands of people upgrade their phones everyday trying to get the newest models, but when they ditch their old phones they could be putting their identities in danger.

"It was time to upgrade. I've been walking around with a dumb phone forever and it's time to get a smart phone," said Renee Williams.

A study by Life Assistance Company showed 54 percent of second hand phones have personal information left on them, which means often the idea of out with the old and in with the new is the only thing on peoples' minds.

Shelby Williams is buying a new phone and said, "I wasn't even thinking about the old stuff. I was ready to get a new phone. I've been ready to get a new phone actually.

Luis Martes, Jr. checks email, does his banking and even pays bills on his phone so unloading it before he gets a new one is necessary.

Matt Clayton is Verizon's retail store manager in North Columbus and explained how to unload an android phone.

He said, "You're going to hit the menu button, system settings, then you're going to go to privacy and you'll notice it says factory data reset, click on that and it will give you a brief description then you can complete the process."

He said if you have an I-phone, hit settings, general, reset, erase all content and settings.

Clayton said if you don't unload your phone, sensitive information could get into the wrong hands.

He commented, "Whenever you've bought something from your phone your credit card information your social security anything that you may have searched on your phone so you've got to be very careful. Any photos, any locations you've possibly visited."

He also said it doesn't hurt to lock the phone up, in case it gets lost.

Clayton explained, "You always want to make sure those things are secure so the remember me's and the things of that nature make sure you put a security lock or pass code on your phone."

If you don't want to unload the phone yourself someone can do it for you. 

Bailey Howard works at Radio Shack in Columbus and she said unloading is a must when people turn in phones to upgrade.

She said, "When they bring their phone in to recycle it we always make sure we wipe it for them so that all of their information is gone off the phone . Also with android phones we advise people to keep their memory card."

It's not just phones, people have to be careful video game systems and computers because those devices have personal information on them as well.

 

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