Frequently Asked Questions - AFTS Data Issue

What does AFTS do?

AFTS is located in Seattle, WA and has been a utility billing service provider to Kirkland for many years. They print and mail Kirkland’s utility bills, as well as receive and process the checks that Kirkland Utility customers send in the mail.

What is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware).  Ransomware incidents typically involve an unauthorized actor gaining access to an entity’s network and deploying malware that encrypts the entity’s files, making them inaccessible. The unauthorized actor then commonly demands a ransom payment in exchange for the key to decrypt the entity’s files.

What information about me is at risk?

The information stored in the AFTS databases is limited to data necessary to fulfill utility billing and payment processing of paper check payments.

At this time, we have no knowledge that any personal information belonging to any Kirkland utility customers has been accessed or misused. However, AFTS is currently conducting an investigation to determine what personal information might have been accessed by the ransomware actors, if any, and will inform Kirkland of that information when it becomes available. We can confirm that ATFS’ database does not contain any of our customers’ social security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, state ID numbers or credit card numbers.

What should I do to protect myself?

While we do not currently know whether your personal information was impacted by this incident, we nevertheless encourage you to remain vigilant against any suspicious or fraudulent activity.  To that end, residents who pay their utility bill by mailing a paper check are encouraged to monitor their bank account for unusual activity and report anything suspicious to their bank right away. 

I haven’t paid my bill yet, what should I do?

This incident only impacts Kirkland utility customers who pay their utility bills by check sent in the mail. At this time, we recommend not mailing checks.  Other options include depositing your check in person at the city hall drop box in front of Kirkland City Hall, signing up for direct debit, or to pay their current utility bill using Kirkland’s online payment system which is handled through a different vendor.  The website can be reached at: https:www.kirklandwa.gov/paymentus.  Existing online payment customers should continue to use the online payment system. 

I mailed my check recently and it hasn’t cleared the bank yet. Did Kirkland get it? Should I re-pay it using Kirkland’s online payment system?

The City is now processing mailed checks internally.  We are not recommending that utility customers re-pay their utility bill. No late fees, or service disruptions will be implemented for customers whose payment is delayed past the payment due-date as a result of this AFTS incident.

Will I get charged a late fee for this?

No, Kirkland has suspended all utility related late fees in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

How can I get more information?

Please use the following email for inquires relating to utility billing concerns stemming from the AFTS incident aftsquestions@kirklandwa.gov. Customers can also call the Utility Department at 425-587-3150

City of Kirkland News release: City of Kirkland Aware of AFTS, Inc. Potential Data Security Issue