The dangers of tossing out old printers

Action Line

n most cases consumers are diligent about deleting personal information from devices before disposing them. But there’s one device that is easy to forget about – a printer, and its hard drive that stores sensitive data.

“If they get your information especially if your social security number is attached, you’ve got identity theft. If for some reason you had credit card information in there, now they can take your credit card and start using it. So once you’ve opened up that you really are looking at identity theft and monetary theft,” said Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager.

Commercial printers are often a re-lease or are resold so it’s important to wipe the machine clean of personal information.

“A lot of time you may be leasing it so what you want to do first of all is check you lease contract, see what that says, contact the leasing company, verify that they’ll erase that information or pull out the manual,” said Freitas.

Meanwhile, home printers may store data such as birth certificates, income tax forms and bank statements.

“Google your model see if you can find that online and figure out how to erase it and if either way you’re not able to do that contact someone you can trust. You can look at BBB.org for a company that can help you figure out how to erase all that information on your printer,” said Freitas.

If your information or identity has been stolen, Freitas says to report it to the authorities immediately.

Most definitely, go online, go to the Federal Trade Commission. Call the BBB and they will know who to send you to get the right person to file a complaint,” said Freitas.

If you have a concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call Monday through Friday at 591-0222. You can also send an email to ActionLine@khon2.com

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