Millions of Americans trade in and upgrade their cell phones each year.
Many trust the stranger behind the counter to erase the device of all personal data, but we discovered several cases in which customers accuse store employees of stealing the most private of images off their phones.
What happened on November 4 still haunts Kat and her fiancé, Dan.
The couple visited a T-Mobile store near Orlando where Dan traded in his cell phone for an upgrade.
Hours after the couple left the store they discovered someone transferred an intimate video they made months earlier from Dan's mobile to another phone.
Dan and Kat say they traced the transfer to a T-Mobile employee.
Tampa attorney John Brewer says it's one of three similar cases involving employees at different cellular stores in recent months. According to Brewer, his clients are traumatized by the fact they don’t know where the video and photographs may have been sent.
Joann who lives in Largo says an employee at a Sprint store stole 22 nude pictures off her old cell phone last November. According to Largo police, Kenneth Hilario Sanchez transferred the pictures from Joann's mobile phone to his own.
Hilario Sanchez appeared in court this week. He is awaiting trial on a felony charge. Joann says she feels violated and scared over not knowing where the pictures may pop up in the future.
The Osceola Sheriff's Office confirms it is investigating the T-Mobile incident. I contacted both T-Mobile and Sprint and asked what they are doing to ensure the safety of their customers data?
Both companies responded via email.
“T-Mobile is committed to providing customers with a positive experience and we are very unhappy about this unfortunate incident. We are cooperating with law enforcement on this investigation.”
And Sprint told us:
“We do not condone this behavior at sprint. We’re continuously evaluating safeguards and processes to ensure that our customers’ personal data and information is protected.”
Casey Paris the owner of World Wide Cells in Brandon estimates about half of his customers fail to erase their phones before trading them in.
Apple makes it easy to reset or clear any of their devices. It is three clicks to clear, tap on settings then hit reset and reset again and all of your personal information is gone.
If your phone contains a memory card remove it.
If you have the store transfer material from your old to your new phone delete anything you don't want anyone else to see beforehand.
If you make the mistake of turning in your cell loaded you can erase the material remotely using the find my I phone or find my Droid apps.