This gross story shows why you absolutely have to erase your iPhone before trading it in

Nearly a year after Ontario teen Natalie Hall sold her shattered iPhone 5 at a TBooth mall kiosk, an individual in Dubai contacted her notifying her that he had possession of her old phone — and, as a result, all of her data as well.

According to a report by CBC News:

... a man messaged the 15-year-old on Facebook, saying he had bought her used phone in Dubai and the device still had all of her data on it. To prove it, he sent Hall a screengrab of her old phone's camera roll, commenting on the "sweet" photos of the teen, her friends and her dog.

"I was overwhelmed," said Hall, who is from Bowmanville, Ont. "It's creepy having your pictures and your contacts and your social media, text messages — all of that kind of stuff — out there with just a random stranger."

The man also used the data on Hall's phone to gain access to her private social media accounts, requesting her as a friend and then accepting his own requests from the inside.

According to Hall, her phone was so damaged that it was no longer operational, leading her to believe that even if she could accomplish a factory reset before trading it in, it was unnecessary.

Hall said she assumed her old phone had been recycled.

"It was so broken — to the point where the guy I sold it to couldn't even use it himself," Hall said. "For people to say that it's common sense to wipe your phone, I don't know if your phone is that broken."

Since the incident, Hall has taken steps to protect herself, blocking the man from all social media accounts and resetting her passwords. CBC also reached out to the man, who apologized for his conduct and claimed that he has now wiped the phone and sold it. However, the story stands as yet another warning to be certain that you've wiped your data completely before selling or trading in your device. As CBC's piece states, many companies who buy back used iPhones ask that you reset the device yourself, as they cannot assure that any data you leave on the device will be deleted.

If you're preparing to sell your old iPhone and would like to make sure you've taken all the necessary steps to secure your information, you can check out our guide and Apple's, below.

Has anything similar ever happened to you after selling an old device? Share with us in the comments!

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