ShredQuick Blog

Security Risks of Improper Cellphone Disposal in Tampa

lots of old outdated cell phones nailed to a wood wall. A sign on the wall reads "Please destroy Cell Phones Before Entering"

As smartphone technology continues to develop, new technology is constantly being introduced into the market, causing customers to toss out their old, obsolete cell phones. Many customers may not realize that these phones may be recovered by criminals who want to exploit their data. 

Recent statistics reveal that more than 130 million cell phones are disposed of every year, and only a fraction of these cell phones are disposed of properly. 

If you plan on upgrading your cell phone or are simply planning to dispose of an old one, it’s important to consider the security risks associated with improper disposal. 

We’ve put together a list of the top four security risks of improper cell phone disposal to help you understand the potential dangers. It’s essential to think before you throw away an electronic device that stores sensitive personal information. 

SIM and Memory Cards

Many individuals may not realize how much information is stored on the SIM and memory cards on their cell phones. Before throwing out an old phone, it’s important to remove the SIM card and any other memory cards on the device to protect your data. 

SIM cards store important contact information that is not destroyed even after you disconnect your cellular service plan. Criminals can simply remove an intact SIM or memory card from a discarded device and retrieve that information. 

If you’d like to know more about removing the SIM or memory card on your device, reach out to your manufacturer’s customer service line, or consult your phone’s user manual. 

Compromised Accounts

Signing out of all email accounts and accounts associated with your Apple ID or Google account before disposing of your cell phone will help prevent data theft. Upon signing out, all cloud data is removed from the device. 

Individuals who do not sign out of these accounts before giving away or tossing out their old cell phones are at risk of handing control of their personal information to cybercriminals. 

Once the device is in the hands of a criminal, they may have limited or unlimited access to all accounts that have not been completely removed. Keep in mind that removing these accounts may require a WiFi or data connection. 

Conduct a Factory Reset

If you don’t conduct a factory reset of your iPhone before getting rid of it, you’re essentially allowing your data to remain on the device for potential use. A factory reset is a built-in option that most cell phones have in the settings menu.

A factory reset will remove all personal data and return the phone to the state it was in when it left the manufacturing facility. When you complete a factory reset, all personal data is permanently erased. 

Review all of the information you want to save on your device and complete a full backup of your cell phone before completing a factory reset. 

Contact ShredQuick Today

More cell phones are disposed of every day. A great majority of cellphone users overlook the security risks associated with improperly disposing of these electronic devices. 

Unfortunately, many of these users have more information on their cellphones than they have stored on other devices. Once in the hands of a criminal, this personal data can lead to identity theft and financial loss. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to properly dispose of your cellphone or want to know more about our services, contact ShredQuick today!

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