Industry experts are calling on businesses and individuals to ensure they use password and encryption technology on their hi-tech devices to make sure they don’t risk valuable data falling into the wrong hands if they are left behind.
In the past six months in London alone, 63,135 mobile phones, 5,838 pocket PCs and 4,973 laptops have been left in licensed taxi cabs.
In the past three and half years since the survey was first carried out, there has been a sharp increase in the number of executive-focused mobile devices being forgotten in London taxis, with 71% more laptops and 350% more pocket PCs being left than in 2001.
In the wrong hands, they could cause the owner and their company immeasurable damage.
The survey in London was conducted by TAXI magazine, published by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, and Pointsec, experts in security for mobile devices.
A spokesman for Pointsec said: ‘Hackers can steal this information and assume the identity of the user both in their personal or business life.
According to the Home Office, identity theft is now the fastest growing crime and costs the UK in excess of £1.3 billion a year.’
The survey has been carried out in nine major cities around the world among 900 licensed taxi drivers, including London, Helsinki, Oslo, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Chicago and Sydney and has shown that mobile devices are forgotten universally in the back of taxis.
In Chicago, USA, pocket PCs were most often left behind, with one taxi driver reporting finding 40 in his taxi in the past six months.