Here’s a useful lesson for all of us: don’t trust strangers to erase sensitive information from a used electronic device. Fairfax, Virginia’s Sophia Ellison recently learned that message the hard way, after a Best Buy ‘Geek Squad’ employee kept “racy” photos of her found on an old iPhone.
Sophia Ellison says that she went to Best Buy with one, very simple goal in mind: to have media files and contact info delivered from an old iPhone to a recently purchased one. Straightforward enough, right? Well, things got a little complicated when the Geek Squad employee who volunteered to help her also offered to buy the old iPhone for $60.
“I said OK but everything will be wiped clean? And he said yeah, everything will be gone. And I said OK,” Ellison told a local TV reporter.
Surprisingly, Ellison agreed to the deal, even though George pulled the money from his own wallet and failed to provide a receipt for the exchange.
About a day later, Ellison was shocked to find that the new iPhone didn’t contain any of the information she asked the Geek Squadder — known right now as “George” — to transfer. In a huff, she called Best Buy and asked to speak to George, who claimed he had the photos — about 450 of them — on a CD at his house. George then tried to get Ellison to visit his home.
However, Ellison’s spidey senses finally tingled and she contacted a lawyer.
“I felt sick. I felt violated. I felt so embarrassed,” Ellison said.
The problem: the old iPhone not only contained contact info for Ellison’s friends, family, and colleagues, but also photos of Ellison in seductive poses.
“I’m a woman. I love to model. I’m not a model, but I love to model. I have some pretty racy photos of myself, for me,” Ellison said.
When it learned of the situation Best Buy acted quickly, firing George and offering an apology for the mess. However, it’s not yet clear if Ellison will stop there; while she says the police were never contacted, it’s possible that a civil lawsuit against Best Buy could follow.
“Every day I have to think about, ‘Hmm, I wonder where my face, where my body, where my children, where my memories are in this technology world,’ and I can only imagine,” Ellison said.