16,000 phones lost on Tube over 2013, posing personal security risks


Despite being practically dependent on our mobile phones, we Londoners are an absent-minded bunch, especially it would seem when using public transport. An astonishing 15,833 mobile phones were handed into Transport for London lost property departments this year, along with 506 tablets and a remarkable 528 laptops.

Of the lost phones, just 2,038 have been returned to their owners, leaving 13,525 unclaimed. So far, only 290 of the 506 tablets have been reclaimed, and 191 laptops are still waiting for someone to remember they’ve been lost.

The figures, discovered by a Freedom of Information request by online security company McAfee, are a cause for concern, the company has said.

Raj Samani, security expert at McAfee, said the figures highlighted the importance of ensuring adequate device security.

“Small businesses should ensure they have the appropriate security measures in place so that even if they do misplace their tablet or smartphone after the office Christmas party, they won’t be at risk of identity theft or have their personal details compromised.”

However, the figures for lost mobile phones have actually fallen since last year, when an incredible 20,906 devices were lost and handed in.  

A spokesman for TfL said that if devices are not claimed, then once personal information has been wiped, they will then be recycled, given to charity, auctioned, or disposed of if they are beyond repair.