It seems innocent enough. You're on your phone when someone asks if they can use it to Google something or pull up directions. Or maybe you offer to let someone use your device to make a quick phone call. Usually, it's someone you know. But there are times when you may feel tempted to let your phone be used by a complete stranger.
That's what happened to a man from Texas named Tim Gautreaux. He and his wife visited a car dealership to purchase a new vehicle. But by the end of the visit, something unusual had happened.
While negotiating the price of the vehicle, Gautreaux handed his cellphone to the car salesman. He didn't think anything of it. After all, he was just trying to provide the financial information the dealership needed to show he'd been pre-approved by his lender for a loan.
The salesman took the phone to his manager, Matthew Thomas, while Gautreaux and his wife waited. Only a few minutes passed where the phone was out of his sight, but when it was returned Gautreaux noticed something suspicious.
When he first opened his phone, he found a picture of his wife from a year ago. The picture featured his wife in a "compromising state of undress," according to legal documents from the lawsuit Gautreaux filed.
Those same documents went on to explain that Gautreaux then used an app that saves deleted emails, and that's where he found something shocking. Two additional emails had been sent by Thomas, containing photos of Gautreaux's wife getting out of a bathtub. The photos were allegedly emailed to a swingers website, which led Gautreaux to file a lawsuit that asks for $1 million in damages.
In a statement, Gautreaux's lawyer explained, "These actions have caused the Gautreauxs to suffer humiliation and mental anguish, particularly because they don't know who has seen these photographs or may see them in the future."
We don't know how the case will turn out, but we do know where Gautreaux made a huge mistake in this situation. He shouldn't have given his phone to someone he didn't know, especially if his private data wasn't password protected.
What to do in a similar situation
Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you're tempted to hand your phone to someone else - don't! Even if someone you know is asking to see your phone, make sure you really trust them.
As bad as this situation was, it could have been even worse. Did you know there are apps that can be installed on your device that let snoops spy on your every move? The person spying would just need a few minutes with your phone to install these apps while you aren't looking.
To send the necessary financial information to the dealer, Gautreaux should have emailed it directly to the appropriate parties.
This is also why we're always warning you to make sure your phone and tablet are passcode protected. If you own an iPhone or iPad, you also need to change these settings so that hackers can't get around your passcode using Siri.
Another good tip is to hide sensitive information on your device so that it can't be accessed if your phone is ever lost, stolen or out of your possession. Click here for step-by-step instructions for both Apple and Android gadgets.