Essential Phone customers who received an email requesting for a photo ID to verify their information should not reply to it.
It is currently unclear if it is a phishing scam or a massive mistake on the part of Essential. However, replying will not only send the information to the company but also to everyone else who received the email.
Essential Phone Customers: Don't Reply To This Email
Essential Phone customers who preordered the device recently received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org that requests for additional information to complete the processing of their orders. The email requests for an alternative email, a phone number, and a picture of a photo ID that shows the customer's photo, signature, and address.
The email looks harmless and resembles something that the customer service department of a company would send out. However, Essential Phone customers are advised not to reply to it.
As discussed in a thread on the official Essential subreddit, customers who reply will not only send their information to Essential, but also to all other customers who received the email.
Apparently, the message was set up as a group email, which means that replies to it would be sent out to everybody on the list of recipients. There is currently an unknown number of Essential Phone customers who have information about each other, coming from messages going through the Zendesk customer service portal.
Essential Phone Email: Phishing Scam Or Massive Mistake?
Many media outlets have been describing the incident as a phishing scam, and it certainly fits the description of such an attack. Phishing emails are made to look like messages from legitimate companies, but are actually trying to get targets to give up sensitive information.
However, according to Ron Schnell, one of the recipients of the email and CTO for the presidential campaign of Rand Paul, the incident is not a phishing scam but rather the result of a misconfigured customer support email list.
The replies to the email are really being sent to Essential, and not to a scammer. The misconfiguration, however, is also sending the replies to everyone else.
It is unclear what caused the misconfiguration, but while it is not a phishing scam, Essential Phone customers should definitely not reply to it. While the emails would not be sent to a scammer, it is not a good idea to give total strangers your personal information.
Essential Phone Issues Go From Bad To Worse
Essential Phone reviews have mostly been positive, driving up the hype for the new device created by Android cofounder Andy Rubin.
However, the Essential Phone has already been plagued with issues. The company's decision to make the smartphone a Sprint exclusive is expected to hurt the device's sales performance, and Essential Phone delays have frustrated customers.
As customers wait for the arrival of the Essential Phone to their doorsteps, the company needs to clean its act if it wants to make the smartphone a success.