Some Refurbished Xooms Could Put Personal Data In The Wrong Hands

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Maybe it was too thick, maybe it was too heavy, maybe you just didn’t like Honeycomb. Regardless of your reasoning, you may want to keep your eyes peeled on your credit score if you bought and returned a Motorola Xoom between March and October 2011, because your personal information may be in someone else’s hands.

That’s the story from Motorola, anyway. As it happens, the standard refurbishment process that occurs when a customer returns a piece of hardware didn’t go exactly as planned for some devices. Motorola estimates that out of batch of 6,200 refurbished Xoom Wi-Fi tablets, about 100 of them weren’t properly erased before they were resold in batches on daily deals site Woot.com.

Though the odds are in your favor that you weren’t affected, I doubt that same line of reasoning will provide much comfort to someone who was.

Motorola doesn’t go into much detail about how exactly the process went awry. Were the tablets simply not wiped before they were resold? Did some glitch cause user-stored data to remain on the device even after a factory reset? According to them, 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.”

That could potentially include media like photos and video, as well as “user names and passwords for email and social media accounts, as well as other password-protected sites and applications.” With tablets supplanting notebooks and PCs for a growing number of users, this sort of snafu is the last thing Motorola needs as they and bounce back from a disappointing fourth quarter, though they’ve been pretty forthcoming about the whole mess.

If you were one of the people who returned a Xoom between March and October 2011, let Motorola know — they’ll be setting you up with a free 2-year subscription to Experian’s ProtectMyID identity theft alert service. They would also like to have a word with you if you bought a refurbished Xoom from Woot, so mosey on over to their returns site to see if your new old tablet is one of the troublemakers.