Old electronic devices and gadgets pushed aside for new holiday upgrades can create a breeding ground for unsecured data.
Around 7 percent of Americans will have their identity stolen in some form in their lifetime, according to Bureau of Justice statistics.
Data security experts recommend an annual cyber cleanse to keep personal information out of the hands of hackers.
Trashing or donating old electronics leave the owner vulnerable, says Tyler Wildman, CEO of Identity Theft Countermeasures Group in Jacksonville.
"Even if it was wiped several times, [tech experts] would be able to pull all that data off," said Wildman. "Really the only way to ensure you're getting rid of the data on a computer or mobile device is to destroy it."
How to secure your digital ID:
- Take an inventory annually of all disks, devices or USB drives with personal information, recommends Wildman. Keep in a secure place or destroy if no longer needed.
- Clear search and browsing history from sites used every day. Google will delete all data tracked on a user upon request.
- Update online with difficult to decipher passwords.
- The National Cyber Security Alliance recommends Do a digital file purge by trashing old emails and unnecessary computer files.
- Take advantage of free shredding events on the First Coast throughout the year to clear out stockpiles of sensitive paperwork.
- Check credit report annually. All three credit bureaus offer a free report each year, so staggering a request to each every four months helps monitor any unauthorized activity.