It might have earned over a billion in funding, but Essential is off to a rocky start. Hundreds of customers who preordered the flashy new Essential Phone are being blasted with suspicious emails, prompting them to verify their purchase with a “photo ID.”
The sketchy email is being distributed from an address linked to Essential (firstname.lastname@example.org), but while the sender address does seem legitimate, customers are advised to ignore the message for the time being. The company has since confirmed it is investigating the matter.
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
Given the unusual request, it is highly likely this could be an elaborate phishing attempt.
Here is a copy of the email in question:
Our order review team requires additional verifying information to complete the processing of your recent order.
This verification is performed to protect against unauthorized use of your payment information and similar to what is conducted for in-person purchases.
Please provide an alternative email and phone number to confirm this purchase.
We would like to request a picture of a photo ID (e.g. driver’s license, state ID, passport) clearly showing your photo, signature and address. NOTE: the address on the ID should match the billing address listed on your recent order.
We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation. Once verified, we look forward to shipping your order.
Essential Products Customer Care
What is particularly concerning about this is that whoever is sending out the fishy request appears to have acquired access to the company’s customer contact list. This has led some to speculate that Essential might have suffered a breach, but the phone maker has yet to confirm this.
Users who received the email have since complained their inbox has been deluged with spam.
— Eugene Bogorad (@Bogorad) August 30, 2017
We’ve contacted Essential for clarification and will update this piece accordingly when we hear back. Until then… you might want to be extra careful with any emails you receive from them.