Best Buy employee accused of copying woman's steamy photos

A woman who wanted to transfer her photos to a newly-purchased iPhone says a Best Buy employee didn't make the transfer, but made a CD of the shots and invited her to his house to get it.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
Nealaug1/YouTube Screenshot Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Again, the temptation of holding someone else's personal things seems to have been too great for one employee of Best Buy.

Sophia Ellison needed her photos and contacts transferred from an old iPhone to a new one.

According to WTOP radio, she hired the services of a Best Buy Geek Squad employee at Fair Oaks in Fairfax, Va.

Promising to transfer her data, the employee -- called George -- allegedly offered to buy her old iPhone for $60. He also allegedly promised to wipe away all the photos and videos that were on it. And, no, she says that he didn't give her a store receipt. He took the money from his wallet.

Oddly, a day later she discovered that her new iPhone hadn't received the photos and videos.

Even more oddly, she says that after calling Best Buy, the Geek Squadder called her back and told her that, of course, he would retrieve the photos.

The truly odd part, perhaps, is that he then allegedly called her again, told her he'd made a CD for her and asked her when she could pop by his house to pick it up.

Ellison says that she immediately put the phone down and contacted a lawyer.

"I felt sick," she said in a video made with the help of her attorney. She said she felt "violated" and "embarrassed."

Not only were there pictures of her young children, but there were also pictures of her.

"I'm a woman. I love to model. I'm not a model, but I love to model. I have some pretty racy photos of myself, for me," she said in her video.

"Even the words 'Best Buy' gives me chills," she added.

She believes she had more than 900 pictures. "George" allegedly told her there were only some 452 left. The pictures weren't of just her modeling, but of all sorts of personal memories, such as her grandfather in the hospital before he died.

For its part, Best Buy has reacted quickly to the accusations.

Paula Baldwin, public relations director for Best Buy Services told WTOP: "First and foremost, we apologize to this customer for an unfortunate experience caused by what appears to be rogue action against our code of conduct, specifically related to our trade-in program. We hope to restore her trust."

Baldwin reportedly added that the employee had been fired "for making a personal transaction with a customer while on duty at the store."

But what of the pictures? What if they appear online somewhere? It is unclear whether Ellison can do something about that.

Her lawyers have not yet been in touch with the police, but perhaps a civil suit might ensue.

This isn't the first time Best Buy has been involved in such difficult circumstances.

In May, a customer accused a Best Buy employee of outing him on Facebook via his own phone when he left it for repair. This was despite the fact that the customer isn't gay.

At heart, Ellison may have been a little too trusting to think that someone would wipe her photos away. She might also have checked while getting her new phone at the store that all her data had, in fact, been transferred. She might also not have sold her phone so easily to a Best Buy employee.

Still, as she says herself: "I trusted Best Buy. I trusted George." She believed she should have been protected by both.

Sadly, in such circumstances, protection is quite often in short supply.