Personal information stored on cell phones - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Personal information stored on cell phones

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -  Before you trade, sell, or give your old cell phone away make sure all your personal information is erased. 

With so many upgrades to technology and so many phones on the market it is tough to keep up with everything, but knowing how your phone works is extremely important.

Jason Larson works at Area Codes cell phone store in Kennewick.  He said,  "If there's personal information that you want to keep private take it upon your own responsibility or go over it with us and make sure every thing's removed."

A software security company bought ten cell phones on Ebay and they reported that they were able to retrieve bank account information and passwords to a corporate plan for winning a huge federal contract.

All the phones involved store information on flash memory chips.  Larson said, "The only way information can get out is if someone has a flash memory in their phone and they back that up in the phone and in order to see what's on that they need to access that.  That only pertains to PDA's TREO's. Things of that nature."

On average people upgrade their phones every 18 months.  Many people give their old phones to friends and family members and do not realize their personal information is still saved on the phone.

Larson said, "anything that is super pertinent or private I personally suggest that you don't keep it on your cell phone."

Manufacturers usually provide instructions on how to properly delete personal information but it might be complex or difficult to understand.

Larson said, "A lot of time people bring them in and they haven't cleaned out their messages and stuff, but we go through one by one check the calendar, phonebook, phone message, anything that could possible pertain to personal information."

Check your owners manual and read exactly how to erase information on your cell phone.