A Lubbock woman says her neighbor stole valuable, personal information to pay an electric bill.
Every month, Hennigan pays her LP&L bill at the United Supermarket off 50th Street and Avenue Q. On December 14, 2012, Hennigan came in to make her LP&L payment early. As she tried to pay, a representative from LP&L informed her that a man came in with a receipt showing a credit to his account. LP&L informed Hennigan that it came from her account and he was able to access it through Western Union.
Hennigan had no idea that her bill went through Western Union, a third-party vendor to Lubbock Power & Light.
She then called Western Union to see just how it was possible to steal someone's personal information.
"The guy pulls up the account of a payment made that day. Is this your receipt number? I wrote it down. I said sure. Is this your account number? He read me the account number. I wrote it down as well. He said okay we'll get all that transferred within two to five business days. Then I said no don't do that. That's not my money. I didn't pay that money. so I hung up and called United and figured out that was another neighbor's account number who lives 10 blocks from me."
KCBD NewsChannel 11 asked Western Union why it only took a phone call for someone to reverse her payment and furthermore why she was able to call and get information about a complete stranger? Their corporate communications office would not comment specifically on Hennigan's case. However, they advised consumers to guard money transfer numbers just like any other account number or password.
"The information presented on the receipt is personal information that should be protected and kept safe," said Western Union Corporate Communications Director, Andrew Silver. "Just like you wouldn't have your account information with a routing number or an account number from a check made public."
Western Union has since refunded Hennigan her money.
Hennigan also requested that LP&L change her account number. As part of the process, LP&L also gave Hennigan a "Privacy/Confidentiality Request Form." This ensures that your account information will be kept private. If you'd like to sign up, you can fill out this form:
Western Union has also teamed up with the Better Business Bureau to help educate their clients about potential cases of fraud. For more information on how to help guard yourself and your identity, log on to http://www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.
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