Used phones often have a stigma against them. People may lack trust in a pre-owned product simply because it has been used by someone other than themselves. They’re also thought to be a magnet for scammers, but if they’re properly secured, you don’t need to worry. The key is to be prepared before you sell a device, and immediately after you purchase a replacement in order to insure that your data is always safe.
But of course, there are still many security myths when it comes to buying refurbished and used mobile phone. Refurbished phones are actually quite common and can be completely safe for both the seller and the buyer. Here’s a short myth-busting list to used mobile phone security:
- “Your data will be stolen after you recycle your smartphone”
This is probably the most common myth. Yes, ghost data can remain on a device even after you’ve done all the steps in resetting the device yourself. However, if you use certified methods to erasing a device, there is no reason to believe that your data will be at risk once you sell your old device.
In a study by UK-based global provider of bespoke products and solution, CPP, says that 54 percent of used mobile phones were found to still have data from the previous owner. But the risk of this happening can be reduced by conducting a factory reset.
When you do a factory reset, all of the personal data on the device is wiped. Of course, you’ll need to backup the data first. And don’t forget to remove memory cards from their slots, too; it’s surprising how many used mobile phones are sent off for recycling with precious photos still stored on the card.
However, a more secure option is to find a profession and certified IT company that provides secure data erasure services. HOBI International, Inc. offers data security and erasure services. HOBI prioritizes our client’s information security in each of our service offerings. We provide fully traceable data destruction that prioritizes our client’s data’s security while processing equipment efficiently and securely for minimum downtime and maximum turnaround. For more information on our full-coverage services, visit our Data Security & Erasure webpage.
- “You’ll be billed for other people’s purchases”
When someone buys your recycled mobile phone, they won’t be able to access your payment details. But you must ensure that the device is fully deregistered.
On an Android device, you need to remove all accounts on the phone. On an Apple device, you need to log into iCloud and remove the device from your account so that it’s no longer associated with an Apple ID.
Once again, a good option to reduce risk, is do conduct a factory reset. Remember: some manufacturers like Amazon will link a device to the account for the person that bought it. So if you sell on a pre-registered device, even if it’s never been opened, there is a risk that someone could go on a spending spree.
Be sure to switch on devices — even brand new, sealed ones — and remove all of these authorizations and locks before you sell your phone.
- “Used mobile phones will have out-of-date software”
Older phones (particularly Android devices) can be vulnerable to running out-of-date software that doesn’t include the latest security patches. Manufacturers are generally better about keeping on top of updates than they used to be, so this is less of an issue than it was.
Providing you’re buying a modern smartphone, there’s no need to worry. According to popular online tech product review and buyers guide website, Tom’s Guide, iPhones are generally completely safe for five years after they’re originally made, while Android devices tend to be supported for about three years. So there’s plenty of life in used mobile phones.
Debunking these myths helps reduce the stigma on used or refurbished devices. When using the right methods, selling and buying used devices is completely safe. And of course, we should mention that buying and selling mobile devices insures that these devices don’t end up clogging up landfills where they won’t degrade and will only contaminate their surrounding area. Therefore, go green and start looking at used and refurbished options when your current mobile devices seems to be reaching the end of its usable life cycle.