Despite a growing awareness of identity fraud.

Australians are throwing caution to the wind when it comes to the second life of their devices.

Nick Kelly reports.


Aussies are cutting down on e-waste, recycling and on-selling used devices like phones, computers and memory cards.

But experts say every day, hundreds of these devices are being discarded and on-sold containing personal data.

University lecturer Mr Patryk Szewczyk has been collecting and analysing these devices.

He’s found traces of the digital lives of hundreds of users.

Mr Patryk Szewczyk, Lecturer: “Memory cards contain documents which have peoples names and addresses and other types of personal details which could easily be used to commit identity fraud.”

Experts say simply deleting files does not permanently wipe the data.

Anyone with the right software can easily retrieve it, and people naively under-estimate the danger this can pose.

Rob Livingstone, IT Consultant: “If people are selling their devices on Ebay etc, and there’s no visual crime, there’s no one dead on the street, then it must be safe.”

He says there’s only one way to be sure your data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Nick Kelly, QUT News.