Turning in your tablet? One thing you can do to protect your identity

PHOENIX - Many of you got laptops, tablets and smart phones as gifts for holidays.

Well if you're thinking about returning or exchanging it, don't. At least, not yet. Because there is one thing you really need to do before you give up your gadget.

No matter your electronic device of choice, they all have one thing in common--they're computers.

Storing away all the passwords, personal info, and details your life, because well, that's what computers do.

And even when you are done with them, that smart phone, or laptop, hasn't forgotten about you.

Sean Morath found that out the hard way.

Last Christmas after returning his iPad to the store, he got a strange email.

"Opened it up, it said 'Hello Sean Morath. And I said huh?'"

Sean says his used iPad was resold without his name and other info being removed.

Ideally, the store would handle that for you but ultimately it's your responsibility to get rid of your information.

So how do you do it?

There are a few options:

-For Apple products you can usually do it yourself by going to "settings" using the "erase or restore" icon. Find instructions here .

-For other devices you can go to the maker's website and find instructions. Tech blog Lifehacker.com has tips for various types of smart phones.

-If you don't want to erase it yourself, have a store employee do it--but make you're there to watch it happen.

Regardless of how you decide to do it--just get it done.

Otherwise you may be putting your personal information at risk.

Here are some other websites for popular smart devices that can help you erase your important information:

Samsung Support

Blackberry Support

Droid Support

Let me know about your consumer issues by emailing me at joe@abc15.com or by "Liking" my Let Joe Know Facebook Page and telling me about it there.


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