If you’ve ever considered renting to own a PC, like many on a budget or with bad credit choose to do, you might want to reconsider. Apparently, some companies who offer rent-to-own PCs and laptops are spying on their users via webcam without them even knowing!
PC World reveals that Aaron’s Inc. is being sued by Brian and Crystal Byrd, who allege that the company was spying on them through a rent-to-own computer’s webcam. According to the couple, they purchased a Dell Inspiron laptop from Aaron’s and it was discovered to have remote monitoring software on it. These remote monitoring software applications can be used to monitor your activities via webcam. They can also detect keystrokes and steal credit card information, among several other violating activities.
Truth be told, Aaron’s and other companies that offer rental computers often keep these PC Rental Agent software applications on computers for security reasons, obviously. Anyway, the Byrds found out about this unfortunate event because the manager of their local Aaron’s store showed up to repossess the laptop for lack of payment. Brian Byrd showed the manager a payment receipt, because apparently he believed he had paid the bill. That’s when the manager brandished a photo taken of Brian with his own webcam! Creepy, right? So it goes without saying that the Byrds were freaked out and immediately called police, and lawyered-up.
Consider this next time you rent-to-own a PC from Aaron’s or some other place because, who knows? Some people like to jump on and chat with a friend while getting dressed, but that’s beside the point. This is a violation of privacy on a horrendous scale.