ADT, the home security company, is facing two class-action lawsuits accusing the company of not doing enough to prevent a former employee from watching customers inside their homes.
The technician, based in North Texas, is accused of accessing surveillance cameras of more than 200 customers over seven years.
“Mortified, honestly. I was in shock,” said Shana Doty, the lead plaintiff in the case.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Doty said she received a call from ADT last month, informing her that a former employee had access to the indoor surveillance camera in her home. Doty said she upgraded to the wide-angle camera on the ADT Pulse system six years ago, allowing her to access the video stream from an app.
The lawsuit alleges the technician added his personal email to customer accounts during service visits and used the app to see video streams of customer surveillance cameras.
ADT said it fired the technician and launched an internal investigation that discovered the tech added his personal email address to 220 customer accounts in North Texas.
“Imagine being a mother and purchasing the security system to protect your family and then finding out you essentially invited cameras of a voyeur,” said Amy Carter, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in this case.
Carter said the former employee could watch customers during private moments, including when they were undressed.
“The video is available for a certain amount of time for clients to review themselves, so he had the ability to download video. We are not sure if he has uploaded that somewhere else or saved it,” Carter said.
The lawsuit names the technician, Telesforo Aviles. NBC 5 was not able to find current contact information for Aviles to reach him for comment on Tuesday.
ADT said it learned of the problem after a customer discovered an unauthorized email on their ADT account.
ADT said it reported the former employee to law enforcement and is enhancing technical measures.
In a statement to NBC 5, the company said, “ADT reported to law enforcement in April that a former employee gained unauthorized access to the ADT accounts of 220 customers in the Dallas area. We took immediate action and put measures in place to prevent this from happening again. We deeply regret what happened to the 220 customers affected by this incident and have contacted them to help resolve their concerns. We are supporting law enforcement’s investigation of the former employee and are committed to helping bring justice to those impacted by his improper actions.”
ADT said it’s continuing a review of other customer accounts.
One lawsuit involves customers who signed contracts with ADT and a second covers people who did not have a contract with the security company, including minors and roommates – according to Carter.
Doty told NBC 5 she immediately disabled the camera in her home, but worries about the damage already done.
“I think the biggest takeaway from this is I lost my sense of security in my own home,” Doty said.
The DeSoto Police Department, which received the initial complaint, said the case has been referred to federal law enforcement because potential victims live in several cities across North Texas.
NBC 5 reached out to federal contacts on Tuesday, but we have not heard back.