In a nicely candid move, Motorola Mobility has come forward and admitted that it accidentally sold 100 refurbished Xoom Android tablets through Woot.com without first wiping the devices to remove previous customers’ data. Motorola would like to get the devices back from any buyers, and has extended two years of free Experian ProtextMyID service to any customers who returned a Xoom tablet between March and October 2011 to protect them from any potential mis-use of information that might have stayed on the tablets.
“Motorola sincerely regrets and apologizes for any inconvenience this situation has caused the affected customers,” the company said in a statement. “Motorola is committed to rigorous data protection practices in order to protect its customers, and will continue to take the necessary steps to achieve this objective.”
Motorola says it recently put some 6,200 refurbished Xoom tablets up for sale; however, in 100 of those devices sold through Woot.com it may not have wiped the original owner’s data before resale. That means things like email messages, passwords, chat transcripts, banking information, photographs, video, social media accounts, and other sensitive information still could have been on the tablets when they were sold to new customers. If that information falls into the wrong hands, the tablets’ original buyers could be at risk.
The affected tablets were sold on Woot.com from October to December 2011.
To reduce that risk, Motorola is offering two years of Experian ProtectMyID Alert to any customers who purchased and then returned a Motorola Xoom tablet between March and October 2011. (Customers can call (866) 926-9803 to sign up for the service.) Motorola also recommends anyone who purchased and returned a Xoom tablet in that time-frame take common-sense steps to protect their identifies and privacy, including changing passwords to any services used from the tablet like email, social media, banking, and online retailers.
Motorola would also like to get those 100 tablets back again, if possible: anyone who purchased a Xoom tablet from Woot.com between October and December 2011 can contact Motorola to see if their device is affected.
To avoid problems like these when returning an Android smartphone or tablet—or selling it, or passing it along to someone else—perform a factory reset before turning over the device: that wipes out account data for all apps, deletes user-installed apps, and sets the device back to factory state. Also be sure to manually erase any memory card used in the device—or just remove any memory card and keep it yourself.