Thinking about selling your phone to Gazelle?
Wondering whether it's safe to sell your phone to Gazelle? It's a legitimate question, particularly in a day and age when there are a multitude of buyback companies to choose from. How will you determine which company offers a swift, safe, and profitable selling experience? We chatted with a Gazelle customer service representative to determine how safe it is to sell your phone to Gazelle.
The verdict: Gazelle has good customer reviews and an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, plus a track record for on-time payments, which means Gazelle is considered safe in terms of reputation. Before you sell to any buyback company or private party, however, it's important you take steps to protect your data.
You must secure your phone data before selling to Gazelle
Gazelle's website states the company erases your data before reselling your phone, and a quick chat with a Gazelle customer service representative confirmed the company performs a factory reset on all devices. The rep also stated customers are welcome to wipe their own devices before sending them in, and this is a critical step you should take before selling.
Why? Simply put, a factory reset will not erase your personal data. Instead, it "hides" it from the operating system until it is overwritten by a new user's data. That means anyone with the right recovery software - including identity thieves - could access your data and wreak havoc on your personal, business, and financial lives.
Encrypt and overwrite data if necessary
The solution is to encrypt your phone data before selling your phone. Apple iPhones do this automatically, so you can perform a factory reset and safely sell your phone to Gazelle. Android phones, on the other hand, require you to take an extra step to encrypt your data (steps are covered in the links below). After you encrypt your Android data, you can perform a factory reset and safely sell your phone to Gazelle.
Encrypting your data still doesn't remove it from your phone, but it makes it impossible to access without the encryption key - and only you have it. While it's possible software could crack the encryption, it's highly unlikely and most experts consider your phone safe to sell once encrypted.
If you want to take an extra step and be sure all data is erased from your phone, you can load it with dummy data to overwrite the existing encrypted files. This process leaves no trace of your files on your phone - they cannot be unencrypted or recovered because they no longer exist. Doing so manually is time-consuming, but you can use the apps covered in the links below to automate the process.
If you want to be certain your data is safe before you sell your phone, follow the steps outlined in these posts:
- Is It Safe to Sell Your Phone to Buyback Companies? How to Protect Your Data, Photos, and Identity
- Checklist for Selling Your Samsung Smartphone: Protect Your Data, Maximize Resale Value, and More
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