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Think twice before tossing old cell phones

Most of us replace our cell phones every year or two. Identity thieves couldn't be happier about that.

Our cell phones are just as enticing as our Social Security number to scam artists. Criminals can access our contact list and other private data and use it against us.

Play it safe by deleting personal data before you discard your phone. A recent ComputerWorld article suggests that you inform your cell phone company that you're canceling your account.

Also, cleanse the phone of personal information. See "Online Tools" at for tips to erase your data.

Sail through airport screening with new laptop bag

Here's rare good news from the Transportation Security Administration: You no longer have to remove your laptop from its case at the security checkpoint. That's assuming you buy new, specially designed carry-on bags.

More than 25 percent of air travelers carry laptops, the TSA reports. Many road warriors dislike how their unprotected laptops bang into other items as they pass through X-ray machines. The new bags will give officials a better X-ray image of the laptop in part because they're made of nylon, foam and other see-through material. When you shop for protective laptop bags, confirm that they meet government security requirements before you buy.


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