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Data breach at company that sends utility bills for Monroe, Redmond

Water drips from a faucet at the Dublin San Ramon Services District residential recycled water fill station on April 8, 2015 in Pleasanton, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The cities of Monroe and Redmond are warning people with residential and commercial utility accounts that some of their personal information may have been accessed by hackers.

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Customers’ names, addresses, and potentially copies of checks may have been accessed in a ransomware attack at a vendor — Automatic Funds Transfer Services, Inc. — that prints and distributes utility bills for the city. The City of Redmond says it uses the company for water-sewer bills.

“This is just for water, sewer, and storm water,” said Kelley Cochran, Redmond’s deputy finance director. “And it does comprise of our residential customers as well as our commercial customers.”

Cochran told KIRO Radio there are no reports that financial information of Redmond residents was accessed, but the investigation is not over. The city is working with AFTS to determine the extent of the breach, and if any city information was compromised. Until more is known, the City of Redmond will be manually printing and distributing upcoming bills itself, so they will look different.

“It is possible that things will look different for a little longer as we assess whether or not we need to make a permanent change in our vendor,” Cochran said.

AFTS, the company Redmond uses, is also used by other local utility services.

“They do provide the same service to the city of Kirkland, as well as some regional utility customers,” Cochran said.

For Monroe, city managers are advising people who pay by paper check to watch their accounts for potential fraud as that information was likely breached by the cyber criminals.

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The City of Redmond also asks that utility customers not respond to any inquiries about their utility bills in the event that it could be a fraudulent inquiry. Customers may contact the City of Redmond utilities at 425-556-2152 or [email protected]

KIRO Radio’s Diane Duthweiler contributed to this report.

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