T-Mobile SMS Disclosure

Yesterday while waiting for a friend to arrive for a movie, I got a curious text from an unknown number with a 337 area code, saying that I had the wrong number. Since I had not called or texted that number, I replied as such. A few texts later, the stranger sent a screenshot of their phone showing that I did send them messages.

Looking at my sent messages, the messages received by my friend, and the screenshot from the kind stranger, I figured out what happened to some degree.

I sent a string of text messages to my friend. She received most, but not all of them. For whatever reason on the T-Mobile side, they decided to send a few of my messages to the stranger. Note that my friend and the stranger do not have similar numbers, and that they are in different area codes even.

Screenshot_2013-06-04-16-59-20

What is odd is that the stranger got a few of them, but not all, not even all of the ones sent in the same ~ 5 minute period.

Screenshot_2013-06-04-16-59-11

Further, my friend got one of the messages that also went to the stranger. So not only were some mixed up and sent to a stranger, one went to multiple people. It’s pretty clear that this was a one-off situation, but it makes me wonder what happened, if it happened to other people, and/or how widespread it was. The obvious implication of this issue is that a sensitive SMS redirected to an arbitrary person could be embarrassing to say the least.

Figured I would document it here for posterity and just in case it happens again to someone else, they can hopefully find prior incidents.

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