Best Buy Sold ‘Destroyed’ Hard Drive at Flea Market

Maybe the Geek Squad’s pocket protectors are strapped on too tight.

An Ohio couple had their PC repaired by Best Buy and was told their old hard drive would be drilled with holes and rendered useless. Instead, a few months later, a man called up and said, “My name is Ed. I just bought your hard drive for $25 at a flea market in Chicago.”

The man was able to contact the couple through the info on the drive, including SSNs, bank statements and investment records.

In response, Best Buy said, “”Our company values and places the utmost importance on maintaining the privacy of our customers. We will fully investigate these allegations.”

Couple’s Supposedly Destroyed Hard Drive Purchased In Chicago” [Channel5Cincinnati via BoingBoing]

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  1. Plasmafire says:

    Exactly the Reason I have kept all my old hard drives and they are fun to take apart. I have found that a sledge hammer is the best way to destroy them, not drills. (angle grinders work fairly well too but there is nothing like smashing the drive with a sledge hammer)

  2. sanloublues says:

    Drills typically only destroy some of the data too. Data recovery pros can take the platters out and get info of the remaining portions.

  3. aixwiz says:

    My wife and I had a similar experience about 6 years ago when we bought a returned laptop from a Best Buy. We were assured by the salesperson that the system had been checked out, the drive had been wiped and reloaded from the install media. After booting the system when we returned home, we found all kinds of personal data on the previous owner. Her name, address, phone number, company she worked for, and even some risque photos.
    Never never never trust a vendor to protect your data! If you’re going to bring a computer in for repair, ALWAYS demand the original drive back so you can make sure it is destroyed properly.

  4. bifyu says:

    the best part of dismantling hard drives is salvaging the powerful magnets used to move the read/write heads.

  5. ModerateSnark says:

    Any time you bring a computer in for repair, hope the service people are too busy to poke around your hard drive and make copies of anything they find interesting.

    What else do they have to do on a slow day?

    I guess for ultimate security, the rule is:
    If you can’t fix it yourself, destroy it yourself.

  6. FLConsumer says:

    I’m particularly fond of destroying drives by performing experiments on them. Dropping them down 10 story building trash chutes onto the concrete floor, soaking them in sea water for awhile, trying various chemicals…and of course, anger management with various tools. The more bits the drive breaks into, the happier I am.

  7. Consumer007 says:

    I’d like to see the Best Buy employees and the management arrested and charged with data theft. At the very least, gross negligence, as they violated their own policy, the customer’s identities, and resold personal information they were not entitled to see, access or own. I hope the couple pursues a lawsuit. I would. Best Buy’s response “we’ll investigate, thanks.” is insufficient, pathetic and unbelievable. They should have at the very least fired the employees guilty of the violation, and offered to pay for the couples identity-protection costs, the cost for the other person shipping the hard drive, and offered to pay for a third-party firm to REALLY destroy the data if that is what was desired.

    Data and Identity theft are SERIOUS. Anyone who has had their identity stolen will tell you the HELL they have gone through, and Best Buy should now go through something similar so they GET it.

    Why do these big businesses today think they don’t owe explanations, courtesty, common sense, respect or anything else to the consumers that pay for their enterprises?