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Comcast only recently launched its new Xfinity wireless service, allowing existing consumers to add cellular phones to the growing list of services provided by the cable giant. It looks like the company may have tried to move into the wireless industry too quickly, and at the expense of consumer privacy.
According to DSL Reports, Comcast is the focus of a new class-action lawsuit alleging that the company provided inadequate protection for their mobile customers resulting in hackers and online scammers accessing accounts, stealing financial information, and having new cell phones shipped to fraudulent addresses. In spite of a growing number of complaints aimed at Comcast, customers effected by the scam claim that the cable company is apathetic at best.
The lawsuit, filed by Illinois resident Elizabeth O’Neal, goes on to accuse Comcast of being aware of the problem and refusing to do anything to rectify the situation.
“In an apparent effort to grow its fledgling mobile business segment, Comcast leveraged the personal account information of its existing cable and internet customers to allow the opening of XFINITY Mobile accounts through its online customer portal,” O’Neal states in the lawsuit.
While many believe that the lawsuit itself is “vaguely” worded, this isn’t the first time that the company has faced legal issues over a failure to protect customer privacy. Over the last few months, Comcast has experienced scrutiny over two other security issues that involved its website.
When pressed about details, Comcast told Karl Bodes of DSL Reports:
“We are aware of the lawsuit that was filed in the Northern District of Illinois and we are in the process of investigating the claims. Fraud is an issue across the wireless industry, and there is no indication of a breach of our systems. We are prepared to vigorously defend against this action. However, given the pending nature of the litigation, we cannot comment further at this time."
Much of the lawsuit is based on a collection of comments and complaints making similar allegations gathered from online public forums. Some consumers claim that they’re being billed for cell phones on accounts that they had already closed.
This type of sloppy security could indicate that Comcast is sacrificing quality for quantity in a bid to stay ahead of the cord-cutting movement. The launch of Xfinity Mobile came on the heels of the company’s expansion into the internet of things. The cable giant is likely feeling pressured to retain subscribers in the face of mega mergers and a growing variety of entertainment alternatives, leading to premature growth.
Patricia Howard is a freelance journalist and Netflix enthusiast from rural Indiana. She has a bachelor's degree in communication with a concentration in journalism. When Patricia isn't writing, she enjoys catching up on her favorite shows with her husband and seven children.
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