Old phones help provide free phone service for troops

December 31, 2012 7:59:51 PM PST
60 percent of Americans have at least one cell phone sitting in a drawer not being used. While 10 percent of us have four or more phones gathering dust.

We've done several reports on the various companies that will give you a few bucks for your old phones. And if that is not incentive enough for you to get them out of drawers, how about turning those phones into help for our troops?

Did you receive a new phone for a gift, and are you griping about your monthly bill? Well imagine being a soldier overseas, having to worry about the enemy and a phone bill. As it turns out, your old phone can help with that.

Brittany Bergquist is the co-founder of Cell Phones for Soldiers. She explains, "We collect used cell phones and recycle them and then with the money raised, we purchase calling cards and send them to the troops. So we are always looking for people to send us their old phones when they go to get a new one."

You would expect Cell Phones for Soldiers should be awash in old phones, there are so many out there. But the organization isn't.

"It begs the question -- what are people doing with all their old phones," said Michelle Masek with Lookout Mobile Security. "We did a nationwide survey and found out we have become a nation of digital hoarders. The average person, 60 percent, have one or more phones laying around at home. And surprisingly, one in 10 have four or more phones at home."

Masek says Lookout's security app can protect your cell phone's privacy when you use the phone and when you give it up, "

She and others at Lookout have been collecting cell phones for the troops. She says more phones aren't available because of security concerns.

"The main reason is they don't know what to do with them and they are concerned with the personal information, the photos, the apps and text messages, that are still living on those devices so what happens is they end up being put in a drawer and are unused," Masek said.

So, take a moment download the Lookout app, or just go online and find instructions on how you can wipe your cell clean so it can go on to do good works.

"It's a pretty crazy that they have to pay these phone bills and they have such a difficult time communication with their loved ones," Bergquist said. "It really is a huge help for them to be able to communicate with home while they are away."


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