Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 20, 2013

TPWA confident in online bill payment security

TAHLEQUAH — During recent weeks, a few concerns have arisen about whether the online bill payment payment system for the Tahlequah Public Works Authority, Xpress Bill Pay, has been compromised.

Since August, the Tahlequah Daily Press has received a pair of complaints from TPWA customers claiming small unauthorized charges being made to credit or debit cards used to pay utility bills online.

One woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called the Daily Press to report a pair of charges at Walmart on a card used only to pay her TPWA and Netflix accounts. She said Netflix explained its countermeasures to her satisfaction, but she was not convinced by conversations with TPWA. She said TPWA advised her to contact her bank.

Mike Doublehead, TPWA general manager, spoke with the Press briefly following the Sept. 13 meeting of the TPWA Board of Trustees. He said the online bill pay was functioning normally and showed no indications of infection.

“We have heard a couple of complaints, and we checked our online bill pay system for breaches,” he said. “We didn’t find anything. We also asked (Xpress Bill Pay) to check for problems, and they also couldn’t find any.”

Xpress Bill Pay security is handled by Starfield Technologies of Scottsdale, Ariz. Starfield is an offshoot of Go Daddy.

While system breach checks are exhaustive, Doublehead said none are failsafe. A recently created virus may not be on a program’s scan list.

“We are very confident that our online bill payment is safe for use by our customers,”  Doublehead said. “However, nobody can offer a complete 100 percent guarantee.”

Recent surveys indicate fewer people are reading their bank statements or checking them online. Doublehead said use of online bill payment should not be seen as pay-and-forget, and urged customers to be diligent – a sentiment echoed by the woman who contacted the Press.

“Encourage people to check their bills to see if something is up,” she said. “Customers need to be on the lookout. My charge was minimal, but someone could have their checking account wiped out.”

The Federal Trade Commission suggests people take steps to protect their identities and computer equipment:

• Consumers should security software that updates automatically - or download updates frequently - on their computers.

• Protect personal information. Be wary of scams or phishing emails intended to glean credit card or social security numbers.

• Do some research on companies with which business is conducted.

• Give personal information only through encrypted Web sites.

• Protect passwords. They should be of sufficient length - nine characters is a probable minimum - to frustrate automated password attack programs. Do not use birthdays, anniversaries, initials, nicknames or other easily guessed characters.

• Back up computer files.

If a fraudulent charge is suspected, the FTC recommends contacting one of the three credit reporting companies to place an initial fraud alert. The contacted company must notify the other two. Fraud alerts can make stolen information more difficult to use. Fraud alerts must be renewed every 90 days.

Credit reporting companies and phone numbers are Equifax at (800) 525-6285, Experian at (888) 397-3742 and TransUnion at (800) 680-7289.

-- srowley@tahlequahdailypress

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Stocks