- AARP - https://blog.aarp.org -

Smartphone Smarts During Trade-In

smartphone trade-inThe typical cellphone user upgrades every 18 months. Trade-in programs like those recently announced by Apple and Walmart could spark even quicker stampedes for the latest-and-greatest models – with turned-in phones still full of personal data.

“Most people consider a smartphone a communications device,” notes Adam Levin, former New Jersey Director of Consumer Affairs and founder of Identity Theft 911, a provider of identity management and breach-response services for businesses. “What many people don’t realize is that it’s a data storage device.”

And when it stores sensitive data, a discarded smartphone can be a potential gold mine for scammers.

There are no reported cases of identity theft specifically tied to smartphones swapped in trade-in programs. But studies show that smartphone users have a 30 percent higher rate of ID theft than non-users – often resulting after a lost or stolen device falls into the wrong hands.

In addition to these tips on protecting new smartphones, here’s what Levin suggests you do to protect yourself before trade-in time:

Something else to consider: Experts consider Android smartphones to have the least secure operating systems, and some reports suggest they are more likely to keep sensitive data after owners followed factory reset instructions. Conversely, iPhones and Windows 7 phones are credited as most secure, followed by BlackBerry.

Photo: Intel Free Press/Flickr


Also of Interest


See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more