Did you offload an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 at Circuit City while the retailer was imploding? If you did, we hope you wiped your personal details from the machine. Because Circuit City didn't.
Having read our post on GameStop's Texas refurbishment centre, we were contacted by a reader who works in a similar facility (though not one that services GameStop). And there, he claims, things were a little different.
See, this facility (doing work for a smaller retail chain) bought some of Circuit City's stock of pre-owned 360s, PS3s, DSs, PSPs and Wiis. And according to our tipster, didn't get what they paid for. The deal was that this company would be purchasing an allotment of consoles that would be pre-owned, though in working condition, and with maybe a few components missing.
Instead, not only does he allege that the majority of consoles broken (217 of 227 Xbox 360s were "non-functioning", and 167 of 205 PS3s), but, more importantly, that a "large quantity" of them came with something extra: sensitive personal information.
Friends lists. Photos. Videos. Sexy home videos. Arcade games. Credit card details.
The facility discovered this while repairing the damaged consoles. They'd fix them, turn them on, test their network connectivity, then suddenly start receiving friend requests, chat requests, game invites, etc. What's more, with the user details still recorded on the system, they could have easily purchased game content on an unsuspecting former owner's credit card.
It's a massive compromise of personal information. And while, yes, in the first instance these people should have been more aware of their data, it was a dick move on Circuit City's part to not erase the data before selling it on to a third party.
The lessons here? Don't trust big business to do something you should really do yourself! Especially when it involves your credit card details. And home videos of you riding the missus like a naughty donkey.