Credit card details found on old mobile phones


Consumers have been advised to take care when selling their old mobile phones, as it seems many fail to wipe personal information off their handsets and SIM cards.


A study by life assistance firm CPP found that 54% of second-hand mobile phones contained personal data from a previous owner, including credit card numbers, bank account details and passwords.

"With new technology does come new risks and our experiment found that newer smartphones have more capabilities to store information," warns Jason Hart, senior vice president of Cryptocard, which was commissioned to carry out the research. "That information is much easier to recover than on traditional mobiles due to the increase of applications." 

Mr Hart says that people who plan to sell or recycle their mobile phones or smartphone handsets should destroy their SIM and double-check that all content has been removed from the device.

A factory reset can help to remove sensitive data and users should ensure they have logged out and deleted the passwords for any social networking sites, email or credit card accounts, wireless connections and company networks.

CPP also notes that some people save their log-in details for their credit card and bank accounts on their mobile phones.

To increase security and prevent this information from falling into the wrong hands, the company advises people to use a picture that reminds them of their password, rather than saving the password itself.

See related: 4 common myths about the security of your credit cards; Fraud figures show need for credit card security

Published: 30 March 2011