Halloween is full of stories about ghouls and ghosts that send a shiver down your spine and make you keep the closet light on at night, but at e-Cycle, we’ve found that a data security breach is even more frightening for a business. The average mobile data breach last year accounted for loses exceeding $500,000 for large businesses and $100,000 for companies with less than 1,000 employees.

Many companies are unaware that a data breach can happen during end-of-life management. To recoup a business’ investment and protect the environment, it’s imperative that mobile technologies like cell phones and tablets are recycled. However, trusting just any recycler can compromise your sensitive data.

To prove the dangers associated with choosing the wrong recycler, we would like to share a true mobile security horror story that is sure to keep you up at night:

A few years ago JoAnn Bishop of Los Angeles received a refurbished cell phone. After synching her new phone to her computer, she noticed 300 additional contacts in her phonebook and someone else’s appointments on her calendar. As she continued to scour the phone she was horrified to find the same persons’ insurance information, credit card numbers, user names, passwords and pin codes in the notes section.

Being an honest person, she immediately returned the cell phone, and after being assured this was an isolated incident, she accepted a replacement device. Shockingly, this cell phone also came equipped with someone else’s personal information.

David Levi King and Bassem Megally were the original owners of these cell phones, respectively. Both later reported that they had deleted the information from their phones before turning them in.

King and Megally probably did try to delete the data on their cell phone by performing a factory reset. Unfortunately, factory resets leave data stored in cell phones’ hidden menus, which can cause irreparable harm to a business.

Partnering with a wireless buyback company that does not make data security a top priority is very scary. Practices that indicate a recycler provides exceptional data security include:

  • Testing for active phone lines - A serious data risk and results in unnecessary charges
  • e-Stewards certification – That have specific data security transparency requirements
  • Device-specific wiping processes – Both automated and manual
  • Quality assurance testing – To ensure all of the data has been removed
  • Third party, forensic auditing of sanitized devices – To validate their data removal processes
  • High security, lock down facilities and employee background screenings

Choosing a cell phone buyback vendor that provides these services will allow you to rest easier knowing your business will not be featured in e-Cycle’s next mobile security horror story.


e-Cycle is the trusted wireless partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

Businesses Request a Quote Button