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Pueblo West residents concerned after receiving someone else's water bill

A water bill could hold some value for identity thieves
Pueblo West residents concerned after water bills sent to wrong customers
Posted at 5:11 PM, May 02, 2021

PUEBLO WEST — Water customers in the Pueblo West Metropolitan District say they were sent someone else’s bill this past billing period.

The Pueblo West Metropolitan District has since clarified only one person's bill was sent out en masse. But before they found that out, customers weren't sure if others may have been sent their bill by mistake as well.

Pueblo West resident Mike Lammert and his wife Mary were surprised when they received their electronic water bill last week.

They got their usual email with the subject line “your bill is ready to view online” from the Pueblo West Metropolitan District’s billing department. But when they opened the email, “It didn’t say a thing,” Lammert said.

It was completely blank.

Then, they got another email, this time with a bill attached. “It had someone else’s name,” he said. The problem was, they got someone else’s bill, complete with their account information, name and address.

“We thought it was just a mistake they had made,” Lammert said.

That was until they saw a post in a Pueblo West Facebook group asking if anyone else experienced the same issue. Dozens of people responded saying they too got someone else’s bill.

Bernadette Mirelez was one of them. “Oddly enough we got three emails,” Mirelez said. “First one was blank, then the second one belongs to somebody else… then the third one of course was an updated water bill, it was correct.”

But that wasn’t the last of it.

“We got an apology email after that,” Lammert said.

The Pueblo West Metropolitan District sent out a statement, letting customers know the problem was a result of a switch to a new billing system, and they should disregard the first two emails.

“You know, stuff happens,” Mirelez said. “But my thing was, I wonder if somebody got my water bill?”

While it’s not a social security card or a bank statement, a water bill could hold some value for identity thieves.

In Colorado, they can be used as part of a way to show proof of residence to get a drivers license, and even register to vote.

“Hopefully whoever got my bill is not somebody who would use that information against me,” Mirelez said.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Pueblo West Metropolitan District sent News 5 the following statement in response to the situation:

"Pueblo West Metropolitan District water billing department was working with a vendor for billing process updates. With these changes, e-billing water customers received the wrong billing information with one sample bill. We would like to ensure our customers that other customer's information was not compromised or sent out to others in Pueblo West. We have made contact with the customer whose information was used in the sample bill. No other customers information was shared to anyone else and we have worked with our vendor to ensure this issue does not happen again. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused our customers and want to ensure customers their information is safe."