Essential just can’t get out of its own way. The budding start-up led by Andy Rubin sent out an email last night asking for customers’ information to prevent fraud. The email asked to verify a primary email and number, along with an I.D. to confirm the shipping address.
That, in it of itself, is a little weird because asking for private information via email is a staple of scams, but customers followed through with the orders and sent over emails, phone numbers and driver’s licenses. Then it all went wrong.
For some unexplained reason, the email customers replied to was sent out as group email of sorts, therefore, all of the information shared was sent out to each email in the chain. That means all that private information was sent out to complete strangers.
The news filtered out this morning through sites like Reddit, with customers fearing it was some sort of a phishing scam because many customer emails were bombarded with CC’d replies. It turns out it wasn’t a scam, it was just a terrible mistake on Essential’s part.
The specific reason as to why this happened still hasn’t been confirmed. An affected customer, Ron Schnell, who happens to be well-versed in the intricacies of email technology, talked about the issue on Reddit, confirming it was Essential’s mistake.
Here’s what Schnell said about the situation on Reddit:
It is not a Phishing scam. It is a misconfiguration. The DKIDs check-out, and the replies are actually going to Essential (and then many other people). I’ve accumulated quite a collection of D/Ls, Passports, credit card statements, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. This is unbelievable.
Essential has only addressed the situation through a Tweet that doesn’t really help out customers who’ve had their information shared with countless people.
We’re aware of & looking into a recent e-mail received by some customers. We’ve taken steps to mitigate & will update with more info soon.
— Essential (@essential) August 30, 2017
This is mind boggling mistake by Essential. Hopefully no customer information got into the wrong hands.
If more news comes out of the situation, we’ll update the post.