Be careful where you set down your tablets, smartphones, and laptops as over 8000 get left in airports every year.  A Recent Survey by Credant Technologies, a data protection company, shows that travelers have left thousands of mobile devices behind when traveling; and that’s in just seven airports.  The airports surveyed were Chicago O’Hare, Denver International, San Francisco International, Charlotte Douglas, Miami International, Orlando International, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.  With such a small number of airports surveyed, you can only imagine how many get left at airports throughout the entire nation, or the world.

Of the mobile devices left behind 43% were smartphones and tablets, and 44.6% were Laptops.  Those of us with iPads, Kindles, or other tablets need to be extra careful, as these devices all look very similar and can easily be left on a seat or a counter at an airport café.  Be careful not to set down your phone or tablet, especially when in a rush to get your flight, as that only increases your risk that you will leave it behind.  The same goes for leaving your phone in a taxi cab or your wallet in restaurant.  The survey notes that the majority (71%) of devices are left at security checkpoints, so make sure to refill your pockets and pick up your devices after going through security.  If you do find you have lost something, make sure to check with the airports lost and found immediately, as on average only 52% of lost devices are returned to their owners.  Of the devices that are not returned to owners, 70% are donated to charity, 15% are sold at auction, and 15% are sent to local police stations.

Losing your laptop or your tablet is losing more than just a mobile device, its losing your sense of security.  Many people don’t use passwords on their smartphones or tablets, which allows anyone who finds their lost device access to their synced emails, text messages, Facebook, and other applications or documents on their device.  Something as simple as forgetting your iPhone on the plastic seat next to you could end up being a lost identity and years of credit issues.  This is why not only having a password, but a good password, is so very important.  You can check the strength of your password at this website and see if yours holds up to standards.

If you are traveling with USB drives or cameras with SD cards, try saving a text file on them with your email or phone number, so if a Good Samaritan finds it they can contact you. If you happen to lose an iPhone or an iPad there are free apps out there to help you locate your device through another iOS device.  These can be incredibly handy when trying to find a device you have lost, but you aren’t sure where you last had it.  Other software can be loaded to help keep track of your device in case it ever goes missing or is stolen, such as Prey.  Once your device is gone, you can activate Prey through its online interface, and it will automatically attempt to locate the device.  The laptop, tablet, or smartphone will automatically try to connect to any open Wi-Fi, and then broadcast its location to your online interface.  Once connected, you can remotely take pictures with the webcam, take screenshots, or fully lockdown the machine making it unusable for anyone without a special password.

Although methods do exist to help recover your device if you lose it, it is best to just try to hold on to it.  Don’t be like the 8000 people in the seven airports listed above and keep your iPads in sight and your passwords secure.