Louisville Water, like most utilities, uses Social Security Numbers to validate the customer’s identify. Our online portal requires a customer to enter their Social Security Number only during the initial registration process and ensures that they are connected to the proper account.
Louisville Water requires a customer’s social security number to establish service for several reasons:
- Identity confirmation – we do not require a formal application; the social security number verifies that this is a legitimate request
- We’re issuing a service without first receiving payment (water bill is based on what you use, not a set amount)
- The identity confirmation is important from a collections process; each year, Louisville Water must account for an average of $2million dollars in bad debt – customers that do not pay their water bill. After a period of time for non-payment, a customer’s account is turned over to a collections agency and the non-payment can impact a credit rating.
Our customer service agents do enter the entire social security number into our system but afterwards it is masked so the agent can only see the last four digits. We do utilize multiple layers of security to protect customer information.
There are certainly heightened concerns, especially in light of the recent data issues on a national level. Louisville Water, like many other service providers, will have lots of customer information pass through our system for registration, bills, etc. Information technology security is a big deal and a large effort for resources.
We understand you may not agree with our reasoning but wanted you to see the process.
Louisville Water has an Identity Theft Prevention Program which detects, prevents and mitigates identity theft in connection with opening a new account and/or conducting transactions within existing accounts. This program ensures that Louisville Water’s compliance with the rules and regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et. seq.