Some customers who pre-ordered the Essential phone have reported getting suspicious emails asking for "additional verifying information." Based on the copy someone posted on Reddit, the email is asking for a photo ID clearly showing your picture, signature and current billing address. The email was sent by an @essential address and looks pretty legit. But since the company says it's investigating the situation and has "taken steps to mitigate" the issue, then it's best to assume that it's a phishing scheme, a scam of some sort or just anything you should not reply to with any identifying info.
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
According to the replies in that Twitter and in the original Reddit threads, every email has multiple recipients, and a lot of people have already replied with copies of their IDs. Worse, they CCed the other recipients in their responses, putting themselves in even more risk. Some reported getting fraudulent transactions on their credit cards, as well.
It's really quite easy to fall for the scheme (if it is one), since the email's identifying headers seem to check out, and it's no secret that the company is having supply issues. However, because the company hasn't released an official statement yet, there are lots of theories floating around. In addition to the possibility that it's a scam, some people think the company just misconfigured their email and sent it to multiple people at once, while others believe Essential was hacked. We've reached out to the company and will update you once it has revealed the results of its investigation. Here's the full copy of the email going around:
On Aug 29, 2017, at 9:23 PM, Customer Care firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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