Identity Theft- Where Have You Done Your Photocopying?

I have often tell my clients and friends that if they sell a computer to take the hard drive out of it, so as not to risk identity theft of possible information of clients on it… Erasing it is not good enough, as there is software out there for rebuilding the data on those hard drives… Where you do your photocopies of your personal information might be an easy place for the possibility of identity theft… Until a friend of mine in Cyber Security sent me this video “Copy Machines, a Security Risk?” by CBS News, I hadn’t really given it much thought…

Knowing full well that Digital Photocopy machines use a scanner and scan the paper image to a hard drive or have files sent to them through an internal business LAN or even through an IP address, then schedule it for copies to be printed when needed, to do this documents must be saved and stored to the copier’s hard drive… A great time saving feature that is very convenient for employees and for increasing company efficiency… But how safe are those personal files, those ones of your license and social security card you make at work or secure files that you do at the local photocopy business?

Xerox Copy Machine

Copy Machines Celebrates it’s 50th Anniversary in March 2010, with the first plain-paper copy machine that was sold and shipped by the Haloid Xerox company of Rochester, New York…Little did any think then that a whole new world of printing and copying would begin, and where it would lead… Today, Photo Copies have even gotten to the point where they are giving printers a run for their money and many print shops have closed because of new trends in photocopying with it’s ease and convenience… 50 years later, it’s hard to imagine life without them…

Now when a businesses replaces a one of these Digital Photocopy machines, sometimes the company sends them to e-waste centers. Some Business will sell them to a wholesale warehouses or local business supply and equipment auctions, online business equipment buyouts companies or even selling them on e-bay.

What’s so bad about this you might ask? You have to take into consideration all those photocopies are still in that digital Hard drive inside of the Photocopy machine/s if the business and/or their IT staff isn’t Tech Security Savvy… And it is fairly easy to get the programs needed to download them and search for personal information…

Criminals are always looking for a new ways to commit identity theft. With the cost of identity theft on the rise, many companies and people are blind to the damage thieves can do with out-of-date company copiers.

What can you or your company does to protect its private information? One is hiring a company to erase those digital files… Another is to take the hard drive out of the photocopier this is the safest bet!!! And for personal use, DON”T USE THE PHOTOCOPIER AT WORK FOR YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION!!! And you might not want to be using a business photocopy service anymore to copy your personal information, as how do you truly know where that photocopy machine will end up…

You also might want to think to buy a photocopier for yourself… I took a look at Amazon for New Photo Copiers and found some nice priced ones for small business and home use… A personal home use copier like the Canon PC 170 Personal Copier for $139.99 through Amazon: would be my recommendation to help protect yourself from Identity theft!!!

I came across this article too, which could be of interest about how the Government is starting to look into Digital Copy Machine Privacy:

FTC to Investigate Digital Copy Machine Privacy Risks:


16 Responses

  1. This is so interesting. It is good to be aware of but it left me feeling vulnerable. I have a friend who suffered from identity theft. It has made her life hell. She seems a little paranoid when talking to her because she is so careful now about everythng. I feel bad for her. There seems little relief in her case. It is very disturbing. Thanks for shining the light of this problem.

    • Anytime Jen!!!
      Yes, it is a horrible thing, and so many have so few understandings of how prevalent this problem is… So sad that there are so many dishonest people out there, and how one needs to HAVE to think about all and anyway to keep such things private… This being just another thing for people to think to…
      I suddenly thought now to all those out there that use Photocopiers for their kids to go to college, for financial records, with thoughts to my niece now soon to be attending a new college and going into her 3rd year of college… Not only the parents but how many kids, I mean students in college use photo copiers for their private info… Scary!!!


  2. Hi Charles,
    I have an all in one copy machine, Canon MX850. It does a great job and I’m really using it a lot. Even my cat loves it, he uses it as a surveillance post, checking on me if I do my job right!

    Thanks for sharing this info!

    All the best,

    • Great to hear you’ve your own scanner, and I had to laugh as I know what you mean by devices ever being a great place for cats to view life from… Mine also likes my HP 2300 Business Jet printer when not trying to snooze on one of my computer keyboards…


  3. Wow, especially after I have done taxes and scanned stuff for so many years! Wow Charles thanks for informing me, now I can sell more Pre Paid Legal Services, Inc with Identity theft protection!



    • Anytime… I was think carding of all the times I have scanned my licence and social security for what have you… Most of my taxes I have scanned to disc instead local photo copy shop… But your right, I do wonder how many people don’t think anything to their scanning their taxes with all their info on it via a business or local photocopy shop… Kind of scary!!!

  4. Thanks for this information. I will never ever use an outside copier again unless it is something that is not important. This is really a scary thing! It makes you wonder about banks, using the public library, mail stores like UPS and Staples copy center.

    • So true!!! Have to think to so many of the different business also that have your information too, from places you have ordered from… I hadn’t thought to banks… I wonder if they have special policies that will take the hard drives out, or even if they will give you that information…


  5. There is a similar problem with older credit card terminals. It’s one of the reasons why businesses who accept credit cards as payment need to change their machines in July of this year. The older machines store the credit card data and thus it could be stolen. I never knew copiers had the same problem. Thanks for spreading this message. I am glad I have a copier at home. When I get rid of it, I’ll be sure to get rid of the hard drive.

    • I hadn’t known about the credit card terminal issue, will have to ask my friends who have those if they have changed them yet…
      I have been using an older plane paper fax/photocopier for much of my needs, or just scanning then to disc and printing as needed… Any of the computers and hard drive I have I still have, and the ones that have gone bad, I have used for target practice… But I always have told my clients if they don’t turn their older computers into some sort of back up system or print server to take the hard drives out and possibly use inside new computers or in external hard drives cases…

      Good to hear you’ve your own photocopier!!!


  6. Great information!! Wow, where does it ever end with the identity theft? I recently read that the plastic “keys” that one gets at a hotel, stores your credit card information until it is re-swiped for a new customer. The keys are often left in a drawer until a new customer comes along. The wise thing to do is KEEP the plastic hotel key and NOT use public copy machines for sensitive information!

    Thanks again for the great post.

    • Wow, I hadn’t heard of that with Hotel keys… Hmmm, I would think they would have thought they would need to inform you of such a thing… Makes me want to remember to have a Magnet to run that card across every time I return it when leaving… WOW, that is just so wrong in so many ways!!!


  7. what else can keep your personal data out , i m thinking about hospitals , they are having more data about the patient than the police station hehe,
    Anyway , i m using credit card only in the supermarket , i really do not know the danger of this little machine ! if you have any information about it it will be really great !
    instructive topic , i really add something today to my knowledge .
    Thanks again 🙂

  8. So true Fatin… To think of the systems that Hospitals use more often being MicroSoft servers, that are the most hacked servers, it is a scary concept… Earlier this year I was in an ER, and while I was waiting for tests, I opened my PowerBook, and it opened into some open Wi-Fi areas… I would have done some port sniffing for looking around at how secure things are, but know that is against the law, so didn’t… but I was fairly sure I could have gotten past what I knew I could have gotten past the Wi-Fi Soho router they where using, which I could see the Linksys Router in their office and know so many people don’t bother to think to changing the settings, but also a Soho firewall on those are that hard to crack… Though I am not the average user, a hacker looking for such info could probably easily gain access to the data in their network…


  9. Identity theft statistics and information about identity theft fraud, insurance and more. Data Erasing

  10. Hi there, anyway, thanks for the info!

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