Cape man buys Apple Watch full of previous owner’s personal information

EAST HARWICH, Mass.—Leo Cain wanted to give his father a new Apple Watch for his birthday, but when he opened it up he was surprised by what he found.

“I started seeing health information and a lot of other things,” Cain said. “That’s when I said whoa, I have someone else’s watch here.”

Cain found text messages, emails, videos and other personal information belonging to the watch’s previous owner. That person did not want to be identified in this report, but confirmed to Boston 25 she was given the watch as a Christmas present and returned it in January because she wasn’t happy with the size. She was surprised when we told her another customer found her personal information on the watch.

“It’s pretty unacceptable,” Cain said. “A lot of legal documents, recordings, things on there that shouldn’t have been passed off as a new watch.”

Cain’s receipt shows he purchased the watch Mar. 21 from a Victra store in East Harwich. Victra’s website says it is the largest “Verizon Authorized Retailer” in the country with more than 1,400 locations. Cain’s invoice doesn’t indicate the Apple Watch may have been previously owned or refurbished. Cain said he was under the impression he was buying a brand new device.

“It came out of the box looking brand new, no scuff marks, nothing on it at all,” Cain said.

A Victra spokesperson said the company is investigating and it is Victra’s policy to remove a prior customer’s information from a returned device.

“Why such a reset did not occur in this instance is part of our investigation. All our devices, including watches are sold new to customers. This occurrence should not have happened and the device should never have been resold to another guest,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Leo said this is a lesson for anyone selling or returning a used phone or electronic device.

“I would [recommend] you wipe it clean. If you don’t know how, reach out to an expert that does. Definitely do that to [protect your information],” Cain said.

Apple recommends the following steps to anyone selling, giving away or trading in their Apple Watch:

  • Keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together.

  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap the My Watch tab.

  • Tap All Watches at the top of the screen.

  • Tap the information button next to your watch’s name.

  • Tap Unpair Apple Watch, then tap the Unpair button again to confirm.

  • Tap Remove Cellular Plan if you have a cellular Apple Watch model.*

  • Enter your Apple ID password to turn off Activation Lock. If you forgot your Apple ID password, you can reset it.

  • Tap again to confirm. When you unpair, your iPhone will try to create a backup of your Apple Watch. If you get a new Apple Watch, you can use the backup to set it up.

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