South Florida man defrauded of $1K while getting phone screen fixed in Fort Lauderdale

(WSVN) - From talking and texting, to banking and buying, we rely on our smartphones, and when those devices get damaged, we want them repaired as soon as possible, but for one South Florida man, getting his phone fixed may have cost him the trip of a lifetime. The Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek investigates.

No one wants a cracked phone screen.

Richard Haynes, cellphone owner: “I dropped my phone, and I shattered the glass.”

So when Richard Haynes cracked his, he took it right over to the MobileLuv repair store in Fort Lauderdale.

Richard Haynes: “I had to provide my name, my email address and a four-digit code that would give him access to my phone.”

It took 45 minutes to fix the phone, but when Richard got home, he realized more was done to his phone than just repairing the screen.

Richard Haynes: “I got a message from Cash App that $1,000 had been withdrawn!”

Richard was using Cash App to store money he was saving for a trip to Australia.

Instead of going on his vacation, he went to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department to file a report.

According to the report, he says while his phone was being repaired, someone was stealing his cash.

Richard Haynes: “It’s upset me.”

His receipt shows he paid for the screen repair at 4:12pm on Aug. 23.

His Cash App transaction history shows $1,000 was transferred from his account six minutes earlier and went to another Cash App user called “Young.”

Leeor Geva, tech expert: “If someone does have your password, you can just imagine what they have access to on your phone.”

Richard told police it happened while he waited for his phone to be repaired in a back room inside of MobileLuv. Later, when he realized his money was missing, he called them and was told he should to speak to a manager at their main office in the Tampa area. He says he was told they would review the surveillance video and give him a call back in 45 minutes.”

Richard Haynes: “She never called.”

7News went to the store to see if anyone would speak to us. They wouldn’t, but they did give us an email address for the store owner. We sent him a message. We’re still waiting to hear back.

Leeor Geva: “If you’re security-conscious, you want to look for every avenue to secure your data.”

Most repair shops need to know your code to unlock it and work on your phone, but that can put you at risk if that number lands in the wrong hands. Tech experts say there are some things you can do to keep your money safe.

Leeor Geva: “Add a level of security, such as a PIN number on apps such as Venmo. If you have a banking app, you want to make sure the password is not saved.”

If your phone is still usable after damaging the screen, back up your data to another device, then erase your phone or just try this…

Leeor Geva: “It’s really easy to delete the app and re-add it afterwards.”

Richard is taking all of this advice to heart.

Richard Haynes: “I’m going to be very, very careful in the future.”

Now, he’s back to saving his money for his Australian adventure.

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