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Selling your old smartphone may put your personal information at risk

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Amarillo, TX - Selling your used smartphones for money may put you at risk of revealing private information.

With the recent launch of new phones and tablets, more and more users could be at risk of giving away personal data unknowingly.

Andrew Brandt, owner of All Star Computer Service, said our phones are the center hub of our communications world now. We use our phone for everything, from checking our bank balance to checking our Facebook, and taking photographs. This is a lot information on one device, that poses a danger when we misplace or lose it.

So what happens when decide it's time for a new device and want to sell your old one? Brandt said all of that information is still accessible from the device unless you know how to wipe the device clean for a brand new user. And that's the issue. Tech experts said most people are unaware just removing accounts from their devices isn't actually deleting them.

Anyone can have access to your data if it isn't properly cleaned out, such as pictures, contacts, passwords, text messages, emails; the list goes on and on. The question is, do you have to be an expert to retrieve this data? Brandt said you really don't. Whenever you log on to a website or an application from the phone, any information that's being cached such as a username or password is already still in the device.

Brandt said there are absolute steps you can take to delete this data before putting your phone on the market. He said you can call your phone company who can help you clear the data yourself, but sometimes extra precaution is necessary. "If it's something you don't feel comfortable with doing or you don't think you can get everything yourself, always feel free to take it to a certified computer technician who can absolutely walk through the steps with you and show you how to do it," Brandt said.

After you sell your phone, you are automatically selling the rights to all of the data that may be left over. New users cannot be held accountable for releasing any of your personal information after legally purchasing your phone.