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Woman shocked after phone recycled at Rogers store sold on eBay

CALGARY – A Calgary woman was shocked to find a cellphone with her personal information for sale on eBay after she left it at a Rogers store under the impression it would be recycled.

Rhonda Anderson dropped her iPhone in February, and it broke into pieces. There was still a year on her contract and so she took it to the Rogers store in Beacon Hill.

Anderson says the manager sold her a new phone and she left the old one for recycling.

“He said Rogers has a recycling program and I said, ‘Perfect.’ So he lifted up a little white bin and I placed my broken phone in there.”

A month later she got an email from someone who bought a phone on eBay and found her personal information on it.

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They wanted to know if it was stolen and if she could unlock and delete the iCloud account.

“It was advertised as: ‘The screen is broken, phone works, it’s on the Rogers network, sold as is.’ I’ve got text messages, photos of my family…my life is on that phone,” said Anderson.

She says she complained to Rogers, but no one called her back until Global News got involved.

Rogers says it has apologized and is investigating.

“We have strict policies in place with regard to safeguarding customer information,” said a statement from Rogers. “Our policies weren’t followed and that is unacceptable. The store understands how serious this is and they have taken the appropriate disciplinary action with the employee.”

The new store manager says the previous employee no longer works for Rogers.

IT security experts say data should be wiped from a phone or the phone should be set to the default erase setting before selling or trading it in.

“I wish I could say it would be uncommon, but definitely not a surprise. This happens all the time,” said Carl Fransen with CTech Consulting. “A lot of times people basically throw it to the garbage and the information retains itself on the device.”
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Rhonda says she couldn’t turn her phone back on to erase the files after it broke; she says she trusted Rogers when she handed it in.

Rogers says it is reviewing its policies.