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Selling Your Used Smartphone for Cash? Be Careful!

Selling Your Used Smartphone for Cash? Be Careful! - The Beacon


By: Amanda

Selling Your Used Smartphone for Cash? Be Careful!

Selling your used smartphone for cash online may seem like a quick way to make some cash; however, you may also be selling your memories, emails, texts and other data. Your BBB urges consumers to use caution when selling your used phone online.

While most phones have a way to restore the phone to its factory settings, according to a new study out this week, a factory restore may not be enough to wipe the phone completely clean. Security software company Avast says it purchased 20 used smartphones from various consumers online. All the previous owners stated that they had done a factory reset or a “delete all” on the devices. Despite that, Avast reports that they were able to recover a substantial amount of data from the phones.

According to the study, the data recovered included:

-More than 40,000 photos

-More than 1,000 Google searches

-More than 750 emails and texts

-More than 250 contact names and phone numbers

-Four full identities of previous owners &

-One complete loan application

Avast warns that the data recovery software they used is widely available and easy to use. So if you are preparing to sell or donate your phone, your BBB encourages you to make sure that your device has been completely reset. You may want to research ways to clean your phone online or check on anti-theft apps. If you don’t, you may end up selling your identity as well as your phone.

For more information you can trust, visit

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Amanda is the Director of Bureau Affairs and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.