When it comes to guarding against the risk of identity theft, some things are beyond the control of a consumer. As a result, it's important to pay close attention to monthly statements and to check up on one's credit score.
Many media reports focus on the threat of identity theft coming from hackers, malware and other efforts to illegally steal a person's sensitive financial data. Less technical methods include "dumpster diving" where criminals simply go through trash in search of financial documents and credit account numbers.
However, a recent report by KOVR-TV in Sacramento warns that another method used by identity thieves is to buy old copy machines, which frequently still have images of sensitive financial documents on their hard drives.
The television station noted that many copiers contain images of every document ever scanned, emailed, faxed or printed, and that they are not always cleared out before resale.
In the past, other media reports have noted that old ATM machines are subject to similar problems, where they are resold with sensitive data still intact. With that in mind, consumers are advised to be wary of using independent ATM machines that are not located in a location like a bank.