Home > Identity Theft > Be Smart With Your Smartphone Trade-In

Comments 0 Comments

Apple is releasing the latest versions of the iPhone today – the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. While tech enthusiasts may flock to the new models, which are reportedly twice as fast as former versions and available in new colors, users should be wary of identity theft pitfalls.

This is especially true for those who participate in trade-in programs. Apple is among retailers that allow customers to trade-in old versions of an iPhone to purchase a new one. Walmart and some other stores also offer trade-in programs, but according to Apple Insider, the iPhone maker’s option is the most structured. But users of iPhone and other smartphones need to be cautious of the possibly sensitive and revealing information that could be stored on their device before handing it over.

Identity Theft Tips for Smartphone Trade-Ins

There are a number of steps smartphone users will want to take before handing over older models in exchange for a new one. The phone’s SIM card, which stores certain information from the phone, should be removed. Any other memory cards that could potentially store sensitive data about you should be taken out as well before turning in the phone.

Smartphones have come to replace address books – they often contain names, phone numbers and even addresses of your contacts. They may also contain your address and other information like your date of birth. Make sure this information is wiped clean before turning it in.

Anthony Scarsella of Gazelle.com, which also offers trade-in programs, told NBC News that users should erase all text messages, pictures and emails from their devices.  Not only will this protect against identity theft,  but returning the phone to “stock condition” by depersonalizing it may earn you more money for the device, the source said.

Encrypting data on a smartphone you are currently using is also a smart protection method. The new iPhone 5S features a tool that uses your fingerprint to protect data, acting as a password for log-ins, CNN reported.

“Your fingerprint is one of the best passwords in the world,” said Dan Riccio, a senior vice president for hardware design at Apple, according to CNN. “It’s always with you and no two are exactly alike.”

However, just because your phone may be able to encrypt data, your phone’s memory card may not be keeping this information safe. Setting up your phone to automatically encrypt data is a smart step to protecting yourself. Luckily, iPhone generations 3GS and up encrypt data automatically. Older devices cannot support this, Refraction reported.

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team