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Family harassed after Sprint gives away cellphone number

Posted: 5:32 PM, Aug 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-14 17:43:18Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A family from Blue Springs was harassed after Sprint gave away one of their cellphone numbers. 

Two weeks ago, Almitra and Rob Buzan dropped their kids off with Almitra's mother so they could go on a date.

Along the way, the couple stopped at the Sprint store on Douglas Street in Lee's Summit to see if an employee could fix the Wi-Fi on Almitra's phone.

After leaving the store, Almitra said she sent a text message to her mom to see how the kids were doing, but her phone wasn't working.

"Nothing happened. My phone was just sitting there and gave me some weird message," Almitra said.

Minutes later, Rob received a group text message from Almitra's mom. 

Almitra was also on the group message, but because her phone wasn't working, the text never came through.

Before Rob was able to respond, another text came through that was filled with profanity.

Almitra's name was attached to the message.

Then, another text from Almitra's number came through.

This time, the text message was filled with racial slurs.

"Initially, we thought it was someone who worked at the store who had seen us and that was really scary," Almitra said. "We were just shocked and confused."

Almitra is black and wondered if the person messaging her family was targeting her. 

The couple contacted Sprint and was told an employee put Almitra's phone number on a different customer's phone.

"They told us that someone else came in, not even 20 minutes after we left the store, and said, 'put this phone number on this phone,' and [Sprint] put my number on the phone instead," Almitra said.

The 41 Action News Investigators contacted Sprint about the incident. 

Lisa Belot, a spokeswoman for the company, issued the following statement:

"In order to protect their privacy, we do not typically disclose details of customer accounts. However, I can confirm that the Sprint Care team has been in contact with Ms. Buzan to address this issue. The error was caused by a third-party repair technician and we have taken corrective steps to ensure Ms. Buzan and others on her account do not receive erroneous messages. We have apologized to Ms. Buzan and offered credits and services as well."

Almitra and her husband said they're concerned her number could be given to someone else in the first place.

"It's very upsetting that Sprint doesn't take that seriously," Almitra said.

She has since received a new telephone number.

Sprint said this type of mix-up is rare.