GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- You may want to think twice about what you do with your old cell phone. Buy-back and recycle programs are a popular option, but they may put your identity at risk.
Ken Burns, CEO of E-Waste Recyclers of Colorado, said doing a "factory reset" on your phone doesn't clear all of the data.
"I really don't think people understand that when they hit that button on there and set it back to factory standards, they think they're doing everything they have to, and they're really not protecting themselves at that point," Burns said.
Factory resets, he said, get rid of software you've installed and changes the phone back to its original factory settings, but doesn't change the memory that's stored on the phone. It can take as little as three minutes to retrieve your personal information.
"They can get your social security number, your banking account information, all your personal photos, all the things you really don't want going out," Burns said.
The only way to securely get rid of a phone is by destroying it, Burns said. E-Waste Recyclers has an electronics shredder which shreds hard drives and cell phones and turns them into plastic confetti. You can bring in your old cell phone to have it recycled securely for free.