Feb. 3, 2012 at 5:06 PM ET
About 100 refurbished Motorola Xoom tablets wound up being resold to new owners with the old owners' personal information still on them.
The tablets were among a batch of 6,200 Xoom Wi-Fi tablets that were refurbished by Motorola Mobility, which said the devices "may not have been completely cleared of the original owner's data prior to resale."
The affected Xooms were resold by Woot.com between October and December, Motorola Mobility said in a statement Friday:
The information that may be accessible to the purchasers of the impacted refurbished tablets may include any information that the original user elected to store on the tablet. It is possible that users might have stored photographs and documents. They may have also stored user names and passwords for email and social media accounts, as well as other password-protected sites and applications.
Even if you're not affected by this, it's a good object lesson for all of us who return, re-sell or trade in older devices. Take it upon yourself to erase the devices , or re-set them back to factory settings, and do not entrust it to others to do, despite their best of intentions and good track records.
Motorola said it is offering customers who bought, then returned, their Xooms to Amazon.com, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale, eBay, Office Max, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Staples "and a few other independent retailers" between March and October 2011 a "complimentary two-year membership of Experian’s ProtectMyID Alert to mitigate any risks."
Original owners should contact Experian directly at 1-866-926-9803 to "sign up for the credit monitoring service." Not only that, but "these original owners are also advised to take precautionary measures to protect their identity, such as changing their email and social media passwords. Original owners who performed a factory data reset prior to returning the device are not impacted."
Motorola is "also actively pursuing the return of the impacted refurbished units to ensure that the memory of each device is cleared," the company said.
Customers who bought a Wi-Fi Xoom from Woot during the three-month period "are encouraged to visit motorola.com/xo
The company, it said, "sincerely regrets and apologizes for any inconvenience this situation has caused the affected customers. 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."