It looks like the Pixel’s mail-in service might be a bit sketchy in the United States.
On Twitter, game designer Jane McGonigal stated that several of her accounts were compromised after she mailed in her Pixel 5a to Google for service. McGonigal says the intruders accessed her Google services, Dropbox and an email account, while activity logs indicate that the hackers accessed photos in an attempt to “find nudes.”
“The photos they opened were of me in bathing suits, sports bras, form-fitting dresses, and of stitches after surgery,” McGonigal writes. “They deleted Google security notifications in my backup email accounts.”
Yeah, don't send your Google phone in for warranty repair/replacement. As has happened with others, last night someone used it to log into my gmail, Drive, photos backup email account, dropbox, and I can see from activity logs they opened a bunch of selfies hoping to find nudes
— Jane McGonigal (@avantgame) December 4, 2021
In June, McGonigal sent her broken phone to a Pixel repair centre in Texas, and Google later told her that it never received the phone. Following this, she was charged for a replacement device. However, McGonigal said that FedEx tracking details indicated that the phone had arrived at the facility. Afterwards, the “missing” phone was used for two-factor authentication checks to access her accounts.
In a statement to The Verge, a Google spokesperson said, “we are investigating this claim.” At this moment, it’s unclear who exactly has the phone or whether it was intercepted during transit or at Google’s repair facility.
In a more recent December 6th tweet, McGonigal said “Pixel Support and Google Security have been extremely helpful,” adding that there will now be “added security instructions for people who cannot factory reset their phones due to phone damage.”
In the U.S., Google offers mail-in repair services in and out of warranty. If you don’t want to mail in your device, you can head to a uBreakiFix instead. In Canada, the repair system works a little differently; Google Support pages state that mail-in services here are handled exclusively by uBreakiFix.