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A shocking report has revealed you may get more than you wanted if buying a used mobile phone because 50% of second-hand handsets contain the previous owner’s personal data.

The mobile and forensics experts Disklabs analysed 50 used handsets bought from eBay and discovered that a number of them still contained photos, messages, credit card and pin numbers, and in some cases even pornography.

"The worst thing a consumer can do is hope or assume that the person buying the phone will remove the data," said Simon Steggles, director of Disklabs. "Any data left on the phone is effectively open to the public domain. That could be as varied as intimate photos, videos and text messages. People hit 'delete' and think that means it is gone for ever, but that's not the case.”

Out of the 50 phones, pornographic material was found on 9, and personal security information including home address, credit card numbers and pin numbers were on 26 of the handsets. Steggles recommended a factory reset to fully ensure all data is erased is the safest and most reliable way to make sure your information doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

He added: "It's unfair to expect consumers to understand the possible ramifications of leaving data on their phones," he said. "Mobile operators need to take this issue more seriously – it's shocking what some people leave on their phones."

If you plan to sell your mobile and are worried about having your private data accessed make sure your wipe your phone correctly.

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Used Mobile Phones | Second Hand Phones | Disklabs

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