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Clearing your printer can save you from becoming a victim of identity theft

Printer (Photo: NBC Montana){p}{/p}
Printer (Photo: NBC Montana)

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Printers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of identity theft.

The Better Business Bureau says people and businesses are quick to delete personal information off phones and computers.

Yet, when it comes to printers and their hard drives it’s a different story.

If you print something once and you can print it again later.

Charlie who owns a copy business, says chances are your printer is saving your data.

“So, a lot of people are probably not aware that data can be stored. So, if you're printing out tax records or something that might be a problem,” owner of Kalispell Copy Center Charlie Hansen said.

“You don’t think that your printer will be something that would give away your identity,” Aaron Hove Kalispell resident said.

“I didn’t realize that printers, well I guess they could have a memory couldn’t they, I never thought about it, I have thrown printers away I the past and never thought about anything being on them,” Melody Admundson Kalispell resident said.

“I would be concerned about my identity if I were to throw away my printer today,” Danica Bibler Kalispell resident said.

There are some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim.

The Better Business Bureau recommends these tips.

For commercial printers, take out the hard drive and either digitally rewrite or overwrite data or destroy it by hand.

Clear any saved emails or network information and reformat hard drives.

For home printers, make sure to remove storage like SD cards.

To get rid of temporary memory, unplug your printer for 60 seconds or more and long-term memory is erased as more jobs are completed.

Many people use printers to print bank statements, birth certificates, and other important documents.

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You don’t want people to have access to those documents.

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