Beaufort woman feels violated, says cell phone repair-man took her saved photos

A Beaufort woman says her privacy has been violated, accusing her cell phone repair-man for taking photos from her phone. The owner of Beaufort iRepair admits to NEWS 3 he texted himself some of the woman’s photos.

The woman who wishes to be unnamed filed a police report in Port Royal, but says police tell her little can be done, since she gave the man her phone’s pass-code.

“You know, there’s a million things that are going through my head,” the woman says.

Those millions of thoughts racing through her mind are all triggered from the five photos she discovered the repair-man texted himself from her phone, as he was repairing it. She first learned of the text messages when she checked her phone bill; then the repair-man admitted to sending them.

“I mean, I didn’t know at the time, did he have pictures of my kids? Did he have pictures of…I mean, he could have gotten anything off of my phone,” she says.

She says the man told her which pictures were sent, pictures she would want only herself or her husband to see; she compares the situation to that of burglary.

“It’s a vulnerable feeling. It’s just like going into someone’s house and stealing from them,” she says.

When she initially turned-over the phone to have it fixed, she says she was unaware photos would be accessed. The phone was being fixed to correct a problem charging. The repair-man tells NEWS 3 he sent the photos in order to test the phone to see if it was working.

Other cell phone repair businesses, like iRepair Savannah, say this is an unusual practice.

“The charging port has nothing to do with your camera, nor does it have to do with your photos,” Abbie Gaines, manager of iRepair Savannah, says. “We actually do have access to everything that the customer would have access to, but we with iRepair Savannah, we have a very strict policy as far as going into people’s personal information.”

Gaines says her business practice is to alert the customer if sensitive information needs to be accessed, to do so only with their permission, and in front of the customer if requested.

The Beaufort woman warns others to be cautious when handing-over phones for repair.

“It’s that feeling of vulnerability, of someone taking something from you that you did not want them to have and just totally not expecting that to go, and immediately I was just very vulnerable and very hurt by his actions,” she says.

The repair-man further says he did not store the pictures, and will not send himself pictures again.  As far as charges go, police tell the woman there could be a violation of operating without a business license, but they are unsure of any other charges.

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