In the last issue, we suggested photocopying the contents of your wallet or purse, in case they are lost or stolen and become #IdentityTheft.  Having copies of everything makes restoring your identity much easier.  However, you must be sure to use a secure photocopier when doing so.  This topic draws a lot of attention in our #IdentityTheft Seminars.

Virtually every photocopier made since 2002 has  a hard drive which captures and stores all documents ever scanned on it.  That means when the machine is sold or traded in on a newer model, all of that scanned material may go with it.  It’s common for us to ask a business or organization to make a copy of a document for us, without realizing that the document is likely to go with the copier some day. 

We understand that Sharp now makes a copy machine with a built-in program to delete scanned documents, but check with your machine’s manufacturer.  There are two possible solutions, at least for your copy machine.  First, when yours is worn out or obsolete, remove the hard drive and drill some holes through it.  Second, hire a technician with high grade software to over-write everything on the hard drive.  That may be expensive, but not nearly as bad as being a victim of #IdentiyTheft through information you gave away.  That takes care of documents on your machine.

Copy machines owned by someone else is another story; many businesses and institutions now lease copy machines rather than buying them outright.  Unfortunately, at least for security reasons, many lease contracts require that when the lease ends, the copy machine must be in working condition.  Of course that means the hard drive couldn’t be removed, so the over-write option is the only one available to most lessees.  But check with the maunufacturer.

The best thing you can do if you have a photocopier, is to contact the manufacturer and determine what you can and cannot do.  If you are leasing a machine, this would be a good topic to discuss with your supplier, not only for the machine you have, but also about the next one you lease.  Avoid being a victim of #IdentityTheft!

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