Fraudsters in Nigeria are selling the confidential bank account details of thousands of UK customers salvaged from recycled PCs for less than £20 each, according to a report by the BBC.
The BBC says an investigation into the risk of identity theft from old PCs by its Real Story programme has found that fraudsters in Nigeria are able to access Internet banking data stored on recycled computers sent from UK council recycling points to Africa.
Second-hand computers from all over the developed world can be found in virtually every PC market in the Nigerian capital Lagos.
Although there is a genuine market for second-hand PCs in West Africa, ID fraud is becoming a growing problem because sometimes computers are not fully wiped before being sent to Africa.
Fraudsters can access confidential data on a PC's hard disk very easily if the drive is not fully wiped. Owen Roberts, head of ID fraud at CPP Group, told the BBC that simply deleting files from an old computer was not enough to make sure data has been removed.
Roberts says users should instead use a programme to wipe the hard drive before they sell or give away their PC, which over-writes what is already contained on the drive.
Alternatively, people should remove the hard drives from old computers, he says.