Scam of the day – December 23, 2013 – Identity theft risk in old gaming consoles

A few days ago I warned you about the latest scams tied to the XBox One and PlayStation 4.  However, people who purchase the new gaming consoles generally will sell their  their older gaming consoles on eBay or other sites after they buy the newer version.  To the surprise of many people, this can lead to identity theft.  Video game consoles such as the XBox and PlayStation are not just video game players, but they are quite sophisticated computers that will often have important personal information including credit card information stored on the computer’s hard drive.  Identity thieves know this and will often buy the used gaming consoles to harvest the personal information from the consoles and make their former owners victims of identity theft.

TIPS

If you are selling or otherwise disposing your older video game consoles, make sure that you remove all personal information from the hard drive before you sell or get rid of the console.  The simplest way to do this is to get an external hard drive reader that you can use to connect your console’s hard drive to your computer.  Once it is connected to your computer, you can use a program such as “Eraser,” which is free to remove your personal information from your console’s hard drive.