What is Identity Theft? “Identity theft is a form of fraud in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person’s identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person’s name.” ID Theft
One has to be careful when owning a computer in this age, lack of protection such as firewalls, antivirus, root-kit removers could lead to serious problems on a personal or corporate level. But we are not here to talk about live protection but rather protection of your personal/corporate information when a computer is returned to vendor or even worse, stolen. Specific measures can be taken to protect sensitive information from landing in the hands of thieves.
Examples below show measures to take.
1.) Encrypting Data
As long as the data is encrypted you can rest assured it is safe. Chances are it will be wiped clean at the factory, maybe the laptop sold as refurbished.
This is the best option if your personal/corporate computer is stolen.
2.) Deleting all your sensitive data
There is nothing worse than finding your email account has been hijacked or even your beauty facebook account taken right from under your nose.
3.) Do a factory wipe
This option just resets everything to stock as if you just bought the computer. Back to the beginning, safer route if you have nothing to loose.
All the options above are all viable but if someone was determined enough there is nothing to stop them. Encryptions can be broken with time, data can be recovered when deleted or wiped but at-least they have to work hard to get it.
Be Safe, Do your part, Protect your data.