If you sell your old cell phone and it gets into the wrong hands, what would someone find?
A list of login passwords nestled in a page on your notepad? An app for your bank with your username and password automatically saved? Or maybe you have an attached email account with copies of pay stubs, financial statements, court documents, and more. Think of everything that is on your phone right now. A lot of the information you store on your phone can be used by thieves to steal your identity. The smarter our phones get, the harder the hackers work.
Selling Your Cell Phone is Dangerous
Phones are windows into our personal lives, and very easily, those windows can be shattered. The potential for a break-in increases when selling your cell phone. With today’s high-tech smartphones, the risks far outweigh the benefits (cash) of selling your cell phone.
The average person upgrades their cell phone every 18 months, which amounts to 130 million devices being discarded annually in the U.S. alone. Americans throw away 416,000 cell phones every single day. Cell phones not securely recycled most often still contain all their personal data, expanding the potential for identity theft. That’s 151.8 million potential identities to be stolen in just one year!
Erasing confidential information may seem like a relief from identity theft, but even that isn’t enough. Clearing the contents of an SD card or restoring your iPhone won’t guarantee that someone can’t access stored data. SD cards are often formatted to allow data to be recoverable. Meaning, just because we cannot see our files on our phone anymore, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
PCWorld wanted to prove just how easy it is to gain access to ‘deleted’ information on a secondhand phone. They did so by purchasing 13 internet-capable phones from various sellers on eBay, small businesses, and flea market stands and put them to the test. The first wiped phone they bought still had call-duration data still on it, the next two they purchased had a considerable amount of old emails, texts, contact information, an attached email account, and photos of the original owners!
[Check out this investigative video on personal data from used cell phones being sold by pawn shops.]
A study by CPP Life Assistance found that 54 percent of second-hand cell phones purchased contained personal data such as emails and bank account information from the previous owners. They also purchased 50 SIM cards and 27 of them contained similar private information.
Recycle Your Old Cell Phone with an Electronic Recycler
So, what’s the best solution for getting rid of your old cell phone? Electronic recycling. Your data is guaranteed to be safe and irretrievable when the storage components are shredded. Plus, when you recycle your cell phone with a certified electronic recycling company, the scrap is recycled.
20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year; meaning they all end up in a landfill somewhere. The lifespan of technology is alarmingly short, and it is our responsibility as the users to ensure that these items are recycled and given another purpose.
A dedicated shredder can guarantee complete destruction of electronic media to give you the pleasure of feeling safe, secure, and free from identity theft.