Tips for Safe Online Banking
I just came across this government website called OnGuardOnline.gov which provides some useful tips to help you be on guard against internet fraud and other risks that exist in our digital world. You probably have heard many of the tips on things like keeping your computer secure and on avoiding scams. However, the site's tips on computer disposal are not as publicized, and they should be understood by those who do any online banking. If you download e-statements to your computer, you have to be careful when you decide to upgrade your computer. Eventually, you'll need to dispose of the old computer, and those e-statements could fall into criminal hands.
E-Statements and Hard Drive Disposal
OnGuardOnline.gov has a good overview about how hard drives work and why files can still be accessible even after you delete the files. If you want to sell or donate the computer with the hard drive, it's a good idea to use a utility program that overwrites the hard drive multiple times to ensure old files, like those e-statements, are no longer accessible regardless of the hacking skills of the criminal. Another option is to physically destroy the hard drive.
One final note about OnGuardOnline.gov, there's a useful page that points you to information on how to file a complaint on internet-related frauds, scams, and suspicious activity. So if you see something online that looks like an investment scam or if you receive a fraudulent email, this page provides you with instructions on how to report the scams. One person reporting scams may not result in much, but the more people who help, the better the chance that the authorities will be able to shut down the scam artists.