I had this happen with a cell phone from the Saint Cloud Walmart. Bought it looked like it was new in package but when I used it it was tied to someone else account and it downloaded all of their contact info and restored it onto the phone. It was someone local because there were tons of phone numbers for Saint Cloud restaurants in the contacts. So it appears someone had returned this phone to Walmart and they stuck it back on the shelf. I’ve also seen Staples passing off returned items as new.
This is why all hard drives left with us are physically destroyed. Platters are removed and shattered like glass.
It’s never a good idea to return a computer or other gadget to a store without first erasing all your personal data. Stores with good policies and training will generally wipe devices back to factory settings before selling them again, but you never know when one might slip through the cracks.
We’ve seen this happen a few times with Best Buy, that ubiquitous chain with 1,600 stores in North America, which boasts that “more than 70 percent of the [US] population lives within 15 minutes of a Best Buy store.”
The most recent incident happened last week when Michal Urban bought an open box Apple TV from a Best Buy in Mission Viejo, California. The Apple TV was still logged in to several of the previous owner’s accounts, Urban told Ars. Urban provided us with screenshots showing logged-in accounts for iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now.
“I just got an open box Apple TV and sure enough the iTunes account is still linked, I can listen to someone’s songs, watch shows, perhaps even rent a movie?” Urban told Ars