Lake Worth Utility warns customers of potential data breach


For the second time this year, Lake Worth is warning Lake Worth Utility customers who paid their utility bill online to check their credit card statements for fraud.

“It has been brought to our attention … that customers who utilized the online credit card payment option to pay for utilities may have experienced a potential breach of their credit card information,” the email read.

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The fraudulent activity may have happened between Aug. 28 and Oct. 9, according to the email, which was sent Tuesday.

Ben Kerr, city spokesman, said the email was an abundance of caution for residents.

“Nothing has been confirmed,” he said. “It’s just a potential this has happened. We want to let people know to check their bank statements just in case.”

The city sent a similar email in March, Kerr said.

Lake Worth does not manage online credit payments. CentralSquare Technologies, the city’s Lake Mary-based vendor, does.

Megan Knight, a manager of corporate counsel at CentralSquare, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Roy Winters, a Lake Worth resident, said he can’t believe this is happening again.

“There’s always a problem,” he said. “I’ve had to replace my card numerous times because of it.”

Winters, an online sales manager for an auto-parts supplier, said he had between seven and 10 fraudulent charges on his card earlier this year.

“At first we thought it was a certain store we visited, but once we got the email in March about Lake Worth Utilities, we all started putting this together,” he said. “We had charges from places we’ve never been to, or places we never ordered from, and it was all over Lake Worth.”

The fraudulent charges totaled to about $100, Winters said.

Michael Chase Flack Fox, also a customer, called the issue worrisome.

“You’re being told you can’t use your card at a gas tank because of skimmers and now we have to be concerned about this,” he said. “It’s a pretty big issue because it has to do with money. We’re doing well enough in life, but one little mistake and you could be out thousands of dollars just by not paying attention or being vigilant.”

Kerr said CentralSquare is rebuilding the server that runs the payment processes. They should be finished Thursday morning.

That’s only sort of good news to Winters.

“I feel very insecure and unsafe,” he said. “We trust our city officials are going to be using a processing system that is reliable and secure. To have this happen twice in one year and to not even change the payment processing system is definitely disconcerting. I really hope they make a change about it.”

Follow Lake Worth reporter Kevin D. Thompson on Twitter at Twitter @kevindthompson1

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