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  • Writer's pictureJames Mosieur

Ski Destinations and Unclaimed Smartphones: What You Need to Know

If you run a ski resort or other ski destination, this isn’t news to you: Those hitting the slopes on skis and snowboards are likely teens and young adults. Data from the SnowSport Safety Foundation shows that 37.5 percent of skiers are under age 25, while 25 percent are under age 17. With up to 12 million folks on the slopes each year, that’s a staggering number of young people.

In addition to their appreciation of powdery snow and adrenaline pumping fun, another thing the young people enjoying your ski destination likely have in common is that they all have a smartphone in their ski jacket pocket. Data from Neilson asserts that 98 percent of Americans aged 18-24 own a smartphone.

With so many young people enjoying your ski destination with their phones in hand, it’s very likely that your lost and found department takes in an overwhelming number of personal electronic devices that end up unclaimed. With the ways young people use their phones today, this is more than an inconvenience for those with lost phones: A young person’s unclaimed smartphone creates risk and liability for all involved.

Numbers from a recent Sex and Tech Summary report indicate that 72 percent of teens and young adults said sending and receiving “sexy messages” is a common use of their phone. This includes text and images that could be damaging, let alone embarrassing, should they fall into the wrong hands. The only way to protect the teens and young people on your slopes is to ensure all unclaimed devices are disposed of properly.

Think of it this way: Let’s say a ski resort’s lost and found manager gives their unclaimed smartphones to a local charity. The charity organizes an auction selling the smartphones to raise money, but they do no data clearing whatsoever. A buyer of one of the smartphones finds that the previous owner, a young teenage girl, took many intimate photos of herself. The buyer shares some of the pictures with friends. Although the ski resort and lost and found manager broke no laws, if the word got out that they gave the smartphone away without doing the responsible thing and clearing the pictures, their reputation would suffer serious, if not irreparable harm.

The best way to ensure customer safety and preserve your reputation is properly dispose of unclaimed devices through an organization that secures data before donating the device. The 911 Cell Phone Bank takes unclaimed portable electronic devices, like the lost smartphones you find at your resort, and protects the previous owner’s identity and reputation by removing private and confidential data and then uses the devices as lifelines for domestic violence victims and more. To learn more about unclaimed smartphone safety and security, contact us.

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