The Baltimore Sun has a story today reporting that a computer problem in State Farm Insurance's automated billing system double-billed monthly premiums this past month.
According to the Sun, nearly 80,000 State Farm customers in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia who have monthly premiums automatically debited from their bank account were affected.
State Farm said that it became aware of the problem on Wednesday, and that the problem was corrected by yesterday. The company added, however, that its customers should check their statements anyway and let it know if the problem was not fixed.
The Sun noted that State Farm had another billing problem in May of this year. Nearly 12,500 Visa credit card customers of State Farm Bank were erroneous charged as much as $20,000. That error was a result of a "coding error" at the Bank's credit card billing vendor.
In related billing problem news, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is warning anyone who used a credit or debit card (except the AAFES Military Star cards) between the 7th and 9th of August at any of its locations world wide to check their card statements for billing anomalies.
An AAFES spokesperson says in this Stars and Stripesarticle that the problem, which was found on the 10th of August, was due to a computer security upgrade:
"During the implementation of a Payment Card Industry application change to provide added protection to customer data through encryption, files with duplicate credit data were transmitted to the credit processing center in error."
AAFES also said customers who were affected didn't have to do anything, although it may take a few weeks for the fix to show up in a customer's billing statement.
AAFES has not said how many of its customers were affected. However, according to the AAFES fact sheet, it operates 3,100 facilities serving 12.2 million customers in 30 countries. So the number is likely to be pretty large.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.