Safety steps to follow while setting up new phone

Reporter: Sara Girard

Cell phones are some of the hottest gifts this Christmas holiday. But scammer specialist warn that there are some important steps to take before getting rid of your old phone.

Not everyone can be a tech genius.

“I learned from my nieces and nephews, and teenagers, that’s how I learned to operate the phone in the first place,” said Fort Myers resident Diana Grubenhoff.

Grubenhoff says she knows enough to know how to get her phone erased before she donates it.

“Took it to Verizon store first, and talked to one of the sales people, one of the reps and they were supposedly going to do it for me and then take the phones to the battered women’s center,” Grubenhoff said.

But scammer specialist Carrie Kerskie says trusting your wireless company to reset your phone isn’t full proof.

“There are tons of bad guys that will go online and buy used phones because they know that most people don’t remove their information, and it’s a treasure trove for identity thieves,” Kerskie said.

If you are going to do it yourself, back up all your data, including contacts, remove the sim card and log out of services like email and social media.

After completing those steps, find the reset option in your phone’s settings.

“My girlfriend just got a new phone for Christmas and that’s exact;y what I did, I transferred everything over to myself and then mass deleted the phone until it said ‘English,’ like back to when you buy the phone,” said Fort Myers resident Cory Demello.

Sounds simple, but Kerskie says it’s not as easy as pressing delete.

“IPhones, if you do a factory reset, that’s pretty good about getting the information off ot if, but you also want to log into your iCloud account and remove that phone from the iCloud account,” Kerskie said.

This rule also applies to all smart devices, like tablets, watches and even your car, to keep your information safe.

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