Experts warn of identity theft risk
SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- Consumers are bombarded with warnings about identity theft. Publicized threats range from mailbox thieves and lost laptops to the higher-tech methods of e-mail scams and corporate data invasions.
Now, experts are warning that photocopiers could be a culprit as well.
That's because most digital copiers manufactured in the past five years have disk drives -- the same kind of data-storage mechanism found in computers -- to reproduce documents.
As a result, the seemingly innocuous machines that are commonly used to spit out copies of tax returns for millions of Americans can retain the data being scanned.
If the data on the copier's disk aren't protected with encryption or an overwrite mechanism, and if someone with malicious motives gets access to the machine, industry experts say sensitive information from original documents could get into the wrong hands.