Local News

Woman's 'new' phone contained hundreds of old photos, emails

Posted January 11

When Casey McPherson bought a brand new cell phone, she was shocked to find it had someone else’s information on it.

"I began charging the phone and that's when the error messages started popping up," McPherson said. "It was saying that the storage was full."

McPherson said when she bought the phone, it was sealed.

"We actually had to cut it to open it,” she said. “The first thing I ran across was that gallery full of 800 photos."

She also came across into emails dating back to 2009.

"I found emails to his wife where they exchanged passwords," she said.

Others included automatic billing information and contacts.

"Direct addresses, email addresses, work, home, anything that you could think of had their information right there. Birthday dates and all."

Using that list, McPherson got in touch with the former owner, Daniel Bates. He had returned the phone two months earlier, after having it only one day. He said he "totally forgot to get the data off.”

He had logged into his Gmail account on the phone, which opened the door to all those pictures, contacts and email.

McPherson bought the phone at Family Dollar.

Spokesman Randy Guiler told us this was the first report of this kind, and they are "in the process of investigating to better understand how this may have occurred."

McPherson would like to know how her supposedly brand new phone was clearly used. The original owner has since changed his Gmail password.

McPherson decided to just erase the information. Family Dollar has not shared answers as to how the used phone was apparently repackaged and sold as new.


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  • Rod Runner Jan 12, 2017
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    These phones are meant to be cheap and to not have people paid to sell just phones. They're pre-paid, cheap phones for people that don't want a contract or the latest phone and no hassle.

  • Joe Thomas Jan 12, 2017
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    This is why you don't cheap phones at place where employees no nothing about phones

  • Renee Grainger Jan 12, 2017
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    Can you imagine this type of thing happening to something like hair color? All hair dyes are simply sealed with a small, round piece of tape on the box. You intend to dye your hair black, put the stuff on your hair, watch a little tv, then look in the mirror and it's orange?

  • Renee Grainger Jan 12, 2017
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    LOL Mo'Needham Washington....that's the most simple and true statement/comment every written on this site.

  • Trisha Davis Jan 11, 2017
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    I've bought a couple of StraightTalk cell phones from Walmart that have either had someone else's contact lists on them or comes up as someone else on the caller ID when I call their landline phones. They were both in sealed turtle shell packages.

  • Donald Holder Jan 11, 2017
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    View quoted thread


  • Mo'Neesha Washington Jan 11, 2017
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    Lesson for all, don't buy a phone at family dollar.

  • Oak Rapp Jan 11, 2017
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    Reselling returned items as new happens all the time. I once bought a "new" VCR player at a big box store and when I unpacked it I found a tape in it with someone's home movies on it. At least when I returned it the manager had visual proof of which employee had been taking items home and using them.