Individuals and organisations are becoming a soft touch for online fraudsters by failing to delete personal information, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned.
The warning follows an investigation by the ICO into the used hard drive trade, which found one in ten sold online contain residual personal information.
Of the 200 devices, 20 memory sticks and 10 mobile phones sourced online by computer forensics company NCC Group, a total 34,000 files containing personal or corporate information were recovered.
At least two of the hard drives contained enough information to enable someone to steal the former owner’s identity, said the ICO.
Information commissioner, Christopher Graham said: “We live in a world where personal and company information is a highly valuable commodity. It is important that people do everything they can to stop their details from falling into the wrong hands.
“Today’s findings show that people are in danger of becoming a soft touch for online fraudsters simply because organisations and individuals are failing to ensure the secure deletion of the data held on their old storage devices.”
The ICO has published guidance to help organisations and individuals securely delete personal information from old devices.