Essential, a relatively new smartphone manufacturer, announced its first phone, the Essential PH-1 (commonly known as the Essential Phone) a few months ago. The phone was available online starting 17th of August. The company claimed to have started shipping their phones from the 26th of the same month. Some users which were expected to receive the phone few days before wrote an e-mail to the company asking for status on the delivery of the phone. However, their support e-mails returned a rather strange response.
The company asked for a phone number or an alternative e-mail ID and requested a Photo ID. This is quite similar to what is requested in most phishing cases. Phishing is when an individual or a group poses to be a part of an organization when they are not. Through Phishing, these scammers can steal personal information such as credit card details, addresses, phone numbers etc. In this case, the client did not receive the e-mail himself but it was promptly sent to him, making it even stranger.
— Armando Ferreira (@mondobytes) August 30, 2017
Another User sent an e-mail to the company, now getting a response from the mail delivery subsystem stating “Your address could not be delivered to firstname.lastname@example.org because the address couldn’t be found”. This further raised suspicions about the case.
Source: Eugene Bogorad’s Tweet
However, all possibilities of errors were proven wrong when yet another Twitter User and a customer reported that he had been receiving these e-mails containing personal information. At this point, there was a lot of chaos caused due to numerous customers worried about the information they provided.
The company’s support page (support.essential.com) is also down. This indicates towards a potential cyber attack at the company’s support system.
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
Yesterday, the company tweeted out that it is working towards solving this issue and has taken some steps to do so.
The Essential Phone has received a lot of coverage and positive feedback from reviewers. However, this unfortunate event might be enough to hinder the initial stages of development of the company. Phishing Scams like these can happen to any establishment quite easily.