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Airport Lost & Found: Over 8,000 Laptops and Cell Phones Left at Major Airports

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jul 06, 2012 08:50 AM EDT

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Considering how expensive electronics and mobile devices are, it would make sense for people to keep a close watch of their items. However, a new survey shows that it isn't rare for people to leave their mobile devices behind at airports. In fact, last year, people left over 8,000 mobile devices at some of the top U.S airports.

Credant Technologies, the trusted expert in data protection surveyed some of the biggest airports to question them about the number of mobile devices that were left there. They found that from July 2011 to June 2012, people left behind 8,016 laptops, smart phones, and usb devices at seven of the largest airports in the country, including: Chicago O'Hare, Denver International, San Francisco International, Charlotte Douglas, Miami International, Orlando International and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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Of the 8,016 devices, 44.6 percent (3,576) were laptops, 43 percent (3,444) were smartphones or tablets, and 12.4 percent (996) were USB devices. Out of the airports surveyed, only one said that they turned over the missing devices to authorities. The other six said that the devices were donated to charities or sent to another location.

Being how pricey these devices are, one might wonder where people could possibly leave these important devices. Five of the seven top airports said the most common place mobile devices are left behind is at the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) checkpoints.This would make sense as people often have to put their devices in security bins or in laptop bags and pass them through scanning devices. Being that some devices are so small, it can be easy to not notice them once leaving the checkpoints. The other two airports found that most devices are left in airport restrooms.

Due to the loss of devices, Credant recommends that people use more security on their devices. The survey did show that more than half of lost devices are reclaimed by the owner, but hundreds also fall in the hands of new owners, putting personal data at risk. The company found that 62 percent do not lock their mobile devices with a password. Credant recommends locking devices with strong devices to prevent the loss of personal data as well as a mobile device.

Darren Shimkus, senior vice president of marketing, Credant Technologies said that not all hope is lost when a device is lost at an airport. He said "The moment you lose your mobile device, call the airport's lost and found department. You may be pleasantly surprised that they have your device."


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