Are copiers stealing your identity?

    Bill would have internal memory wiped to safeguard personal information

    Using a copy machine can increase your chances of being a victim of identity theft. Some New Jersey lawmakers are trying to change that.

    You may be surprised to hear that most digital copy machines use internal hard drives that store every document that’s been scanned.

    New Jersey State Senator Bob Smith says many businesses don’t erase the hard drive before getting rid of a copier, putting sensitive information including financial and medical records at risk.

    “These copiers get released or resold. The hard drive contains all this information and it would take an identity theft crook all of thirty minutes to have everything they need to know to steal the resources of the citizens.”

    Smith and Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein are sponsoring a measure that would require the hard drives be wiped clean when a copier is sold or when it’s turned in at the end of a lease. Violators would face fines and be responsible for any damages resulting from identify theft.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.