23 Mar 2011

Phone re-cycling

Got an old cell phone?  they tell you to re-cycle them and there are web sites that cater for such actions, however you need to be careful - you could be handing crooks and fraudster's  important personal information.
In a recent study it would seem 54% of used phones contained personal information on the previous owners including photographs, banking details, pin numbers, and private text's.
Apparently researchers bought phones from sources such as E-Bay, used electronic stores, and second hand shops to see what information they held - 247 peices of data were found on 19 of 35 mobile phones, and 27 out of 50 sim cards - information included pin details, bank account numbers and passwords, company information and login details to personal networking sites like Facebook (Dont go there)...!  and Linkedln.
Another research discovered  half of second hand phone owners said they found personal information from a previous owner on it,  or the sim card.
It has also revealed that some 81% of users claimed they had "Wiped" their phones before selling them, confident they had removed sensitive personal details.
There are more and more phones available these days through various sources and  it is important for users to take greater personal responsibility to ensure their phones are "clean" before re-sale.
I have checked all my old phones in the past and I have kept the same number (sim) since I had a cell phone and just transferred it to the new phone, so no worries there but dont forget the phone does have it's own memory and should be double checked for content before you either sell it on, give it to charity or whatever
these days you just never know who's rifling through your unwanted items - those sealed bags of junk you take to your refuse collection centre are checked !


  1. Good morning Peter, I have found these days "recycling" brings along with it some trouble sum trust issues. Some understand that if it's for the good of the environment and to green up the earth a little they will hand over almost anything. There is a blind trust given to anyone who has a green initiative. This is what the fraud folks feed on and unfortunately many blindly fall for. Very good post, it's an area most of us have to deal with at one time or another that is ridding ourselves of what we think is a useless cell, PC or tablet but in the wrong hands is a nest of information.

  2. Hi Mike:
    Yes - It will happen at some stage when equipment is either discarded or breaks for whatever reason - you have to make sure all data is removed, or disable the device in such a way information cannot be accessed - even if it means finally subjecting the HDD to a "Drill".
    Over here in the UK we have re-cycling areas and they are very fussy these days exactly what you discard, AND where you put it - bagged items are systematically search, anything of worth no matter what, it seems is kept by for re-sale, or distribution, the whole re-cycling "thing" has gone mad, some local councils employ "Garbage Cops", to see just what you're throwing away.

    73 Peter


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