Protect your data when recycling your mobile devices

Make sure your recycling partner offers data-purging services

Whether you're an individual recycling your own cell phone or you're in charge of responsibly disposing of multiple devices for your organization, take note: You'd better make sure the recycling company offers data wiping as part of its services.

This sound advice comes from Regenersis, Europe's largest mobile phone recycling and reuse provider. The company studied a random sample of 2,000 handsets processed during the first week in December and found that 99 percent of handsets received contained some sort of personal data, including contacts, SMS messages, pictures, music, videos, calendar entries, e-mails, notes, mailing lists, and to-do lists. In some cases, the devices contained extremely sensitive information, including bank details, addresses, and confidential e-mails.

"Our advice to consumers is to check with the recycling firm to confirm that all data will be removed. If it isn't, then think twice before sending them your handset as your data could end up in the wrong hands," said Mark Franklin, managing director at Regenersis.

[ Want more advice in choosing an IT asset disposal partner? Here are six tips to help you choose. ]