A data breach at a payment processor might have compromised the personal and financial information of some Tallahassee utility customers.
Tallahassee Treasurer Clerk Jim Cooke is warning that a breach at TIO Networks, a company used by Florida’s capital to help people pay their bills, might have affected an untold number of utility customers in the area. He estimates that about 10 percent of local utility customers use remote locations to pay their bills. Even so, it’s difficult to hone in on who exactly might be victims of the incident.
As he told WCTV Eyewitness News:
For the vast majority of city utility customers, they would be unaffected. Unless a customer received a letter directly from TIO Networks, then they don’t have anything to be worried about. [Those who might be affected] would be persons who made a payment, by check at a remote location such as a convenience store or a credit union.
Anyone who submitted payment in this manner between 2008 and 2017 could be affected.
News of the breach first emerged in mid-November when PayPal Holdings, Inc. decided to temporarily suspend operations of TIO Networks. After acquiring the company in July 2017, the American company that offers online payment solutions decided to take TIO Networks offline after identifying the potential compromise of 1.6 million customers’ information. That data includes customers’ names, addresses, and banking information.
The incident affected TIO Networks but not PayPal, as its network remains separate from that of its acquisitions.
TIO Networks has apologized for the breach and is working to make amends:
We sincerely regret this incident and are working hard to protect you and your personal information. In addition to suspending its services, TIO contacted the appropriate law enforcement and other authorities, and has brought in outside cybersecurity experts to investigate.
We are also providing you with one year of complimentary identity protection that includes credit monitoring, identity theft insurance, and assistance with combating identity theft and fraud should any be detected.
While the company continues its investigation of the incident, Tallahassee utility customers should monitor their financial accounts for any signs of identity theft or credit card fraud. If they notice anything suspicious, they should inform the relevant authorities. Additionally, they should consider setting up account notifications for their bank and credit card accounts as well as placing security freezes on their credit reports at each of the four main credit bureaus.
Residents of Tallahassee who are looking to pay their utility bills can still do so at the Frenchtown Renaissance Center, online, or via a dedicated mobile app.