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Smartphone Repair Guy Fired after Soliciting Photos from a Customer’s Phone

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By Daphne R

Getting a cracked screen repaired on a smartphone is usually a routine, carefree occurrence for most people but not so for a woman in Memphis, Tennessee this week. WMCTV News Channel 5 in Memphis, interviewed a female who wanted her identity to remain anonymous. She revealed to a reporter that she dropped her smartphone off at IFixAndRepair (IFAR) inside the Wolfchase Galleria mall to get her cracked screen repaired. Once the reapir was done she went into the store to pick it up and all was well. But what happened next was alarming.

Before the customer could leave the parking lot of the mall, she received text messages from an unidentified phone number containing her own private and personal photos which she kept on her phone. Someone was texting her photos back to her with the message, “I like what I see. I would love to see more.” The customer claims the photos were some she had taken for her husband’s eyes only while on business trips away from home.

An Action News 5 Investigator was able to trace the number to an IFAR employee they identified as “Lee”. Lee admits to being the person who sent the messages, “Yeah, I sent the photos. I was very immature, you know what I’m saying, and I admit, you know, but I know I made a mistake by the situation.”

Lee says he used the customer’s phone passcode to gain access to her photos. The customer had left the passcode as a condition of repair but never expected the violation of her personal photos to occur.

‘I really can’t understand why this guy would feel like it would be OK to treat just any random woman and to talk to me and treat me like I’m some sort of piece of trash,’ she said.

James Ruffer III, a certified, ethical hacker says that it’s not necessary for a repair person to have the passcode because any ethical hacker would know how to crack through software via what’s called “exploits’ or what hackers refer to as ‘control-access’ which allows access to repair phones. He says a passcode would only be necessary in a case where the phone is having trouble initiating software.

Ruffer suggests that everyone should do a secure back up of their phone in iTunes before taking it in for a repair and erase any photos or images that you wouldn’t want to drop in an offering plate at church.

“Do a complete back-up, and then erase your phone — actually get it back to the default before you hand it to them. When they give it back to you, plug it back into your machine, do a restore from your back-up, and then you’re back to the stage you were before you handed them your machine.”

“The thought never crossed my mind that somebody that I’m paying for a service would go through my personal information,” said the violated customer.

Lee confirmed to the news reporter that he was terminated from employment at IFAR on November 13.

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Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.

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