The Better Business Bureau (BBB) for Vancouver Island is preaching caution when it comes to getting rid of your unwanted electronics.

President and CEO Rosalind Scott says, keeping unwanted electronics in your home increases the risk of loss or theft – which can lead to data fraud.

“We often have a lot of sensitive information stored on our computers and mobile devices such as personal details, banking information, account information, and passwords,” says Scott. “This information is easily recoverable by tech savvy scammers once they’re in possession of your old devices.”

Scott says if you’re giving away or selling your device to make sure you’ve deleted all of your data, and to factory reset the device when possible.

BBB has been around for over 100 years and has held a presence on the Island since opening up shop in Victoria in 1962.

The Bureau warns that the best way to protect yourself is to physically destroy all storage hardware in your devices, this includes hard drives, tapes, SSDs and other forms of storage.

They say if you know how to locate and remove your storage, you can destroy them yourself with power tools you already have around the house.

If you don’t feel comfortable destroying it yourself, they recommend taking your unwanted devices to a professional e-waste firm, and be sure to request a certificate of destruction.