When that old computer dies I hope you take it to a certified e-waste recycler for proper disposal.
Of course, before you do that you need to make sure they are legit. Did you know that there are bad guys out there offering free e-waste recycling (they’ll even pick it up for free!) that are nothing more than scammers looking to get their hands on your hard drive? And yes, just deleting your files isn’t enough.
How do you know the good guys from the bad?
You can start by looking at this Map of Certified Electronics Refurbishing and Recycling Facilities.
Personally, before I recycle any computer, the first thing I do is pull the Hard Drive out myself and drill holes in it. Don’t have a drill press? I know Shred-It has a Hard Drive destruction program.
It’s not being paranoid, just protective. We can all understand why this is important.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR PHONE?
Today, your phone handles a bunch of sensitive data as well. Think of all the apps you have. All the usernames and passwords. How about all the cloud based services? Is it all encrypted? Is it all on your SIM card? How do you even know?
These days there’s an active (legit and not so legit) market for used phones. There are sites like Gazelle.com that buy, refurbish, and sell all sorts of electronics. All the phone carriers do so now too. But no matter how sweet talking that sales rep is at the Verizon counter, no matter how many times they say they’ll wipe the phone’s memory – there’s no way I’m going to willingly hand in my old phone (and it’s hard drive) with or without a SIM card. It’s just not going to happen.
As for mailing my phone in to a service like Gazelle they say they’ll remove all your personal data for me…
And they are legit…
But that’s only after it get’s safely to their system and I’m just not willing to take that chance.
How about you? What do you do with your old phones?