With the rising battle of cyber crime and identity theft, it’s now more important than ever to safeguard your private and confidential information; especially where the majority of it lives – your computer. ABC’s “Taking Action” reporter Jackie Callaway put consumer’s privacy to the test: Is your confidential information from your old computer securely deleted, or ready and waiting for the highest-bidding hackers?

As it turns out, most people don’t even realize their old data can survive a catastrophic failure – even when the computer doesn’t turn on anymore. Jackie did a little searching on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, and quickly struck gold! With a very small amount of money, and even less effort, Jackie met sellers in fast food parking lots across Pinellas County, picking up computer for between $10-$60.


Some were sold “for parts” and hadn’t been turned on in years, others were thought to be already cleared out – but in all six units, Pinellas Computers’ CTO (Ryan Malize) found the hard drives completely intact! “That’s where all of the information lives…”, and in some cases, findings included passwords to bank accounts, social security numbers, email logins, and even complete iPhone backups…

With all the information we found on the computers, the owners/sellers were easy for Jackie to track down – after all, she had all of their personal information! After showing 13 pages of printed personal data from her old HP laptop, one owner was in shock: “No. I had no idea…”. Jackie found another of the original owners, Jason, who she’d actually bought the computer from in a Starbucks parking lot. He was not happy to hear he left behind passwords to a number of websites, including a bank account!

Check out the full story on ABC Action News and read more about the information found all from just $112 worth of used/broken laptops. Want to learn more about how to keep your confidential information safe, or options to have it securely wiped? Check out our recent blog post: Keep Your Information Safe – Wipe Data on Old Computers.