How to clear old cell phones, avoid ID theft

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by CBS

khou.com

Posted on October 25, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 25 at 11:38 AM

(CBS)  Today's cell phones are really powerful mini-computers, and they contain plenty of private information, from personal photos to bank account numbers.

Americans upgrade their phones every 18 months, on average, but when you get rid of your old phone, you had better make sure to scrub it clean.

In an age of rampant identity theft, "Early Show" Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen bought a used phone from a store that sells used electronics to show just how easy it is to get someone's information. She found the phone was loaded with the previous owner's information, from racy text messages to his personal contact lists.

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