How do I Dispose of a SIM Card?

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Image Credit: martin-dm/iStock/GettyImages

The SIM card is used to store data for the cell phone user. It stores the phone number, user identity and the network information necessary to make the phone fully functional. The information on the card is sensitive and upgrading to a new phone may make your card irrelevant because the phone uses a new SIM card or a different identity storage system. That ultimately leaves you with an old SIM card holding your personal information. Proper disposal of the card is critical.


Why Trash SIM Cards?

Trashing the SIM card is different from cell phone disposal or recycling. The card holds your personal information and you should completely destroy the card to prevent theft. While you can check the trade in value at Verizon for a phone, the card is completely separate and it must be removed from the phone then destroyed to wipe your data and prevent identity theft. You do have the option to erase the data from the SIM but if not done properly, your information is at risk. Trashing the SIM means it can still be picked up by thieves. Completely destroying the card is the safest bet for personal privacy protection.


Video of the Day

Erase the Card

You erase the data from an old SIM card on Android or iPhone devices. While there is no guarantee all of your data is permanently erased, it is a reasonable precaution and prevents thieves from easily reusing the SIM and pulling your data. In order to fully erase the card, you will need a 3rd party app to wipe the card clean. When selecting an app, make sure to choose a non-recoverable option as many will do a SIM card delete but the information remains in a recoverable state which leaves you exposed to potential identity theft.


Destroy the Card

The safest route to protection is destroying the card before throwing it away. You can send the card off to an incinerator, incinerate it yourself or use a hammer to thoroughly smash it while turning the stored data to an irretrievable bunch of mush. A cell phone or recycling center might be able to help but personally watching the card being destroyed is the only sure bet for protection. Smash it then ask them to incinerate the card or smash it then throw it away in your trash. This prevents thieves from accessing your name, address, social security number and any other sensitive information about your identity on the card.





Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...