Woman claims Apple staffer stole her personal photo

Before taking her iPhone in for repair at an Apple store, a woman had a sinking feeling she needed to delete apps with personal information and private photos before her handing it over to a technician.

Gloria Elisa Fuentes claimed that when she returned from the Valley Plaza store in Bakersfield, in the US state of California, after her appointment, her intuition was proven correct.

In a disturbing post to Facebook on November 5, she alleged that while a technician - possibly named Nic - had her phone, he sent one of her “extremely personal” pictures to his own number.

She said in her rush to make her appointment, which was moved forward at late notice, she ran out of time to backup all photos in time to be able to delete them without losing them completely.

After handing over her phone, she didn’t think too much of what the technician was doing and assumed he was just “doing his job, looking into my insurance info or whatever”.

Gloria Elisa Fuentes was fuming after seeing a message with a personal photo sent to a random number. Source: Facebook/Gloria Elisa Fuentes

“He asked me for my passcode twice in that time frame which I, at the time, still didn’t think anything of.

Eventually she was told she needed to go through her phone company to have her phone screen fixed, so she left the store. What she saw in her message outbox when she got home though, left her fuming.

“I walk in my house, turn on my phone to text someone, and realise there’s a message to an unsaved number. I opened it and instantly wanted to cry,” the distraught woman wrote.

“This guy went through my gallery and sent himself one of my extremely personal pictures that I took for my boyfriend and it had my geolocation on so he also knows where I live.”

She added the photo was taken almost a year prior, meaning the employee would have had to scroll through more than 5000 other images to find it.

“I could not express how disgusted I felt and how long I cried after I saw this,” she said.

“I went back to the store and confronted him and he admits to me that this was his number but that he doesn’t know how that pic got sent. The manager just said he’d look into it.”

The employee allegedly admitted it was his number, but denied he sent himself a photo. Source: File/Getty Images

She warned others to be extra vigilant about their iPhone safety, and expressed concern at the possibility other private photos could have been taken from other people’s phones.

“This makes me cry thinking about it, but I think he needs to be held accountable and anyone else that has had him work on their phone should be aware of the fact there’s a possibility that he’s done this to them.”

Apple confirmed it had been made aware of the incident and launched a subsequent investigation, according to a statement to The Washington Post.

“Apple immediately launched an internal investigation and determined that the employee acted far outside the strict privacy guidelines to which we hold all Apple employees,” the statement read.

“He is no longer associated with our company.”

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