San Diego

Potential Data Breach of Oceanside Online Utility Payment System

Law enforcement officials were notified and cyber security experts were brought in to conduct a forensic analysis.

The online payment system where Oceanside residents can pay their utility bills may have been breached, City of Oceanside officials said Tuesday. 

Officials first learned of the breach when several Oceanside residents alerted the City, saying the cards they used to pay their utility bills had unauthorized charges. 

At least two of those people used that credit card only to pay their utility bill and no other purpose, authorities said. 

Though Oceanside officials have not confirmed the online utility bill payment system is the source of the credit card breach, the reports raised the concern of a potential breach. 

After learning of the potential breach, the City shut down its online utility bill payment system and began an internal assessment.

Law enforcement officials were notified and cyber security experts were brought in to conduct a forensic analysis. 

At this time, officials said, it appears the incident affected only those who used the City's website to make a one-time payment of their Oceanside water utilities bill between July 1, 2017 and Aug. 13, 2017. City officials have not found evidence that anyone who made recurring credit card payments was affected. 

Anyone who believes they were affected by the breach is asked to take the following steps:

  • Check your credit card account for unauthorized or suspicious charges, no matter how small.
  • Report any unauthorized charges to your credit card issuer/bank.
  • Ask your credit card issuer/bank to deactivate your card and issue a new card.
  • Report any unauthorized charges to the Oceanside Police Department and ask to complete a crime report. The reports can be taken at the Oceanside Police Department Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please bring in the last 2 months of your credit cards statements highlighting the fraudulent activity. Detective Bob Moore 760-435-4435 is the primary point of contact and Sgt. John McKean 760-435-4861 is the secondary point of contact for the police department.
  • Request a fraud alert to be placed on your credit file. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. You may call any one of the three major credit bureaus listed below. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days.
  • Request that all three credit reports be sent to you, free of charge, for your review. Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Thieves may hold stolen information to use at different times. Checking your credit reports periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.
  • Equifax: or 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian: or 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: or 1-800-680-7289
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