Beaumont residents who use the city's online system to pay their water bill need to check their credit card statements.
In a press release issued Thursday, the city says a number of customers have alerted the city of unauthorized charges on the cards they used to pay their water bills between August 1, 2017 and August 24, 2017.
The city says those reports have indicated that the online payment system may have been breached. They say the online system has been shutdown and a cyber security expert is looking at what may have happened.
The City of Beaumont maintains a system that allows customers to pay their water bills online using a credit/debit card. In the past few business days, a number of water customers have alerted the City to unauthorized charges on cards they used to pay their City water bills. At least one of these customers reported that they used their affected debit card only to pay their City of Beaumont water bill and for no other purpose. These reports raised a concern that the City’s online payment system may have been breached. The City takes the security of our customers’ information seriously therefore this notice is being given while we investigate.
What we are doing
Upon learning of the potential breach, the City immediately shut down its online water bill payment system and began an internal assessment along with our software vendor. Additionally, the City is working to bring in a cyber security expert to conduct a forensic analysis.
Who may be affected
So far, it appears that this incident may affect individuals who used the City’s website to make a payment of their City of Beaumont water bill between August 1, 2017 and August 24, 2017. At this point, there is no evidence that any recurring credit card payments may have been jeopardized.
What you can do
If you used a card to pay your City of Beaumont water bill through the City website from August 1, 2017 to August 24, 2017, please:
1) Check your credit card account for unauthorized or suspicious charges, no matter how small.
2) Report any unauthorized charges to your credit card issuer/bank.
3) Ask your credit card issuer/bank to deactivate your card and issue a new card.
4) Request a fraud alert to be placed on your credit file. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. You may call any one of the three major credit bureaus listed below. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days.
6) Request that all three credit reports be sent to you, free of charge, for your review. Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Thieves may hold stolen information to use at various times. Checking your credit reports periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.
• Equifax: Equifax.com or 1-800-525-6285
• Experian: Experian.com or 1-888-397-3742
• TransUnion: Transunion.com or 1-800-680-7289
The privacy and security of our customers’ information is of the utmost importance to the City. We are taking all necessary steps to investigate the potential breach. We will update you immediately as additional information becomes available.