ConsumerWatch: Missing Computer Ends Up in Wrong Hands

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — An iPad computer that was accidentally left behind on an Avianca flight to Colombia is back with its rightful owners after a strange journey.

Back in November, Cristina Durango placed her husband’s iPad in her seat pocket during couple’s flight to Bogota. “When they started serving the meal, I stuck it in the front pocket,” Durango told Consumerwatch. And that’s where the computer remained when Durango and her husband got off the flight. A mistake, they realized moments after disembarking.

“We were like ‘oh, no, iPad in the chair,” Durango recalled.

Durango says she immediately asked the airline staff to retrieve the tablet and gave the exact location of her seat, but was told it couldn’t be found. “They had us there (in the Bogota airport) for 15 minutes and they told us ‘there’s nothing in the airplane.” Something, Durango found strange because she was among the last passengers off the plane.

But what happened next was even stranger. Photos of people Durango didn’t know started appearing in her Dropbox, a file sharing service her husband had linked to the iPad. “When you right click on the pictures to see the properties, it clearly said they were being taken with my husband’s iPad,” Durango said. Next, the person using the iPad, took over the couple’s SKYPE account. The name of the SKYPE user matched up to the Facebook page of an Avianca employee. “It was like an invasion of privacy that I had never felt before,” Durango said.

In an email to Consumerwatch, Avianca confirmed an employee did have Durango’s iPad, and that he has apologized. Avianca also said the employee is no longer with the airline.

Following the trail of a lost or stolen computer is surprisingly easy, thanks to technology.

Last month, an art gallery employee in San Francisco tracked down her stolen Mac through a program called GotoMyPC, that allows user to remotely access the activity on their computer screen, although most Mac products already allow owners to track a missing iPad or computer through the iCloud. And companies like Front Door software offer products that will remotely lock down a computer and display a warning message that the device has been stolen.

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