AT&T Inc. on Wednesday sued 25 unnamed data brokers, accusing them of fraudulently gaining access to about 2,500 customers' calling records.
The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court division in San Antonio, said the "John Doe" defendants often collected information for use in legal or domestic disputes.
AT&T said they used a method known as "pretexting," or setting up online accounts by using identification data such as Social Security numbers. Through the online accounts, the brokers obtained access to customer information, including calling records.
No driver's license numbers or sensitive financial data were accessible, the company said.
AT&T said the lawsuit was a step toward identifying the perpetrators by using e-mail addresses and Internet Protocol addresses and to seek damages.
The company said it had already contacted customers who may have been affected and had taken steps to prevent such violations.
"This affects only a tiny fraction of our customers," AT&T Chief Privacy Officer Priscilla Hill-Ardoin said in a statement. "But we will pursue this on behalf of our customers to the end."
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.
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