We hear all the time about identity theft and often we assume that its something that happens to other people. Unfortunately its something that can happen to any one of us and therefore understand the different techniques thieves use is a good idea. You may already use a paper shredder to destroy your bank statements and telephone bills, however what you might not thought about it shredding that old computer hard drive of yours.
If you are thinking about getting rid of an old computer its very tempting to either:
- Give it away. There are plenty of people who cannot afford the luxury of a brand new computer so giving your computer away to them might give a rosy feeling inside.
- Sell it. You might feel that having a few bucks in your pocket is a good idea and will go towards paying for your new computer.
- Simply chuck it away. If the computer is several years old and really antiquated you might feel theres not point in doing anything other than tossing it out.
The problem with the above scenarios is that you dont know who might be able to get their hands on your old computer. Just because you thought youd deleted everything off the hard drive doesnt mean that thats its been deleted permanently.
Criminals who have the technical know-how can easily access that deleted info within hardly any time at all. And before you know it, they are using bank details, credit card numbers and passwords to steal your money and your identity.
Many of these hard drives end up in Nigeria where they can sell for $50 on the black market. Mostly the computers are sent there as e-waste so that they can be stripped down but there is a big chance that your hard-drive could end up on the black market.
So what is the solution?
Well, its pretty simple really. You need to use a hard drive shredder (aka destroyer). If you are running a large company that has the need to destroy hard drives on a regular basis then you can buy an on-site shredder. However if you are an individual you can find a company to do this for you in your local area.
Check out this youtube video of hard drive shredding on an industrial scale: