How to Sell Your Old Smartphone Without Selling Yourself Out

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July 21, 2014 12:54 PM EST

Avast Software, a security company, revealed people who are considering selling their old smartphones should be cautious they might also be unknowingly giving away personal data with the device.

REUTERS
A member of the audience uses an iPhone to record DJ Afrojack's performance on ABC network's Good Morning America program in New York June 27, 2014.

Even after users reset their old smartphones to factory settings and delete photos, text messages, browsing history and videos, these can be retrieved. Avast was able to recover old information and private data from 20 used smartphones it purchased from random users. Factory resets and manual deletions will not get rid of the information permanently.

The following are a few tips to help people planning on selling their smartphones without selling themselves out:

1. Know Who the Buyer

Smarphone sellers should remember the first rule to stay safe would be to identify who they sold their old smartphone to. It would be to their advantage if a relative or friend bought it from them. Sellers can ask the buyer to let them know if they ever plan to resell or get rid of the phone, so they can track the next owner just in case.

2. Get a Good Device or Program to Delete Information

There are more reliable devices that can be downloaded or installed on old smartphones to get rid of files permanently. According to Avast Software, the basic deleting features and reset to factory settings provided in the phone are not enough to get rid of files. Having a more powerful and efficient tool will get rid of everything for good.

3. Stop Saving Secret File

Many users are advised not to save compromising photos of themselves or keeping text messages that can ruin their reputation. It is best to have a different device to capture these and transfer into a more secure location. At best, people should capture and save private information in a different smartphone and avoid taking nude photos of themselves at least.

4. Consult an Expert

Those who do not know how to install the software to delete the files permanently should take their old smartphone to an expert and have a professional get rid of all the files. They just have to make sure that they trust the professional as well. Monitor the process since it will only take a few minutes to erase everything for good.

(Photo: REUTERS / Lucas Jackson)
A member of the audience uses an iPhone to record DJ Afrojack's performance on ABC network's Good Morning America program in New York June 27, 2014.
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