Arizona Business Gazette from Phoenix, Arizona on December 19, 2019 · BG1
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Arizona Business Gazette from Phoenix, Arizona · BG1

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 19, 2019
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The Business Resource • Copyright 2019 Vol. 139, No. 51 Established 1880 $1.00 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2019 INSIDE: MORE ESSENTIAL NEWS ABOUT THE METRO PHOENIX ECONOMY New in the neighborhood Learn more about a new business. Page 2 Regional report Business news from around the Valley. Page 4 Markets Widely held stocks and top mutual funds. Pages 5-6 Business leads Bankruptcies, incorporations, calendar. Pages 7-11 QEAJAB-53130sReal estate ❚ Page 2 Business news ❚ Page 3 Regional report ❚ Page 4 Stocks ❚ Pages 5-6 Personal finance ❚ Page 12 INDEX An odd glitch involving the electron- ic-billing system at Arizona Public Ser- vice Co. resulted in nine customers’ bills from March 2017 showing up online, available to anyone. APS officials are adamant the com- pany was not breached by hackers and that no sensitive customer data was shared — simply names, addresses and how much electricity they used that month. The customer bills showing up online was discovered by APS customer Steve Neil, who was searching Google for infor- mation about certain charges on his own bill. One of the first links the search en- gine provided him was an actual custom- er’s bill. Neil, a programmer by trade, did another search and found it was a real person. He found that striking, because a cus- tomer’s bill should be protected by a password and housed on the APS system without the public being able to find it. Back on Google, Neil found three more APS customer bills. “I was trying to understand my bill,” Neil said. “I just literally tripped over these.” Neil shared the information with The Arizona Republic, which shared it with APS. APS responds to the bills online The company confirmed the four links on Google were actual bills and said that the company’s technology staff was able to find five more, all from the same month. APS reached out to the customers, pulled the bills offline so they would no longer be available to the public and reached out to major search engines to request the bills be deleted from any cached memories, APS spokeswoman Jenna Rowell said. “We can see that at no time has any- one had unauthorized access to our sys- tems of customer accounts,” Rowell said. APS customer bills turning up online Ryan Randazzo Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK See APS, Page 3 Uber is launching a new pilot pro- gram to help ensure the safety of riders and drivers. The new program will give users the option to have a four-digit verification code to provide their driver before starting a trip, according to a news re- lease. This extra level of verification will help to ensure that drivers are pick- ing up the correct riders. This pilot program was introduced in San Francisco, and Phoenix is one of seven cities to be included in the pro- gram, the press release said. Many us- ers will be able to add this feature in the settings of their app beginning Tues- day, and by the end of the week all users will have the option for this feature. “We are constantly working and in- novating to provide riders and drivers with the tools they need to help ensure a safe and reliable experience,” said Sa- chin Kansal, Uber’s head of Safety Products in a news release. She said the new feature will give riders "peace of mind" that they are getting in the right vehicle. To allow this feature, riders need to go into their settings and tap "Verifying Your Ride." From there, riders have the option to have the code for all rides or only at night, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., the news release said. Once the feature is enabled, riders will be given a four-digit code in the app while their driver is en route. When the driver arrives, riders will need to ver- bally give the driver the code and they must enter the correct code in their app Uber launches new safety feature for riders Uber launches pilot program in Phoenix to add new level of verification to ensure rider safety. SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES Alyssa Stoney Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK See UBER, Page 12 The University of Phoenix has agreed to a $191 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over claims that students were harmed by deceptive advertising, the commission announced Tuesday, Dec. 10. The University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, faced FTC charges that claimed the school had “used deceptive adver- tisements that falsely touted their re- lationships and job opportunities with companies such as AT&T, Yahoo!, Mi- crosoft, Twitter, and The American Red Cross,” the FTC said in a press re- lease. The settlement money includes $50 million in cash and $141 million to can- cel debt for students who were harmed by the deceptive ads, the FTC said. The university did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The commission called the settle- ment the largest ever obtained against a for-profit school. “Students making important deci- sions about their education need the facts, not fantasy job opportunities that do not exist,” said Andrew Smith, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. The university is based in Phoenix and had nearly 100,000 students last year. Students primarily take classes online. The school was owned by a publicly traded company from 1994 to 2016, when it was sold to private inves- tors. At its peak, the school had more than 470,000 students. The commission’s complaint and stipulated final order, which was ap- The Federal Trade Commission started its investigation into The University of Phoenix in 2015. JOHN SAMORA/THE REPUBLIC University of Phoenix settles FTC complaint For-profit school to pay $191M for ‘deceptive’ ads, cancel some student debt Rachel Leingang Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK See FTC, Page 12 The various agency jobs Sonny Patel worked while a student at Arizona State University were meant to teach the busi- ness major a thing or two about what he needed to make it in the professional world. Instead, it showed him the flaws that slowed down an insurance industry that was operating on antiquated formatting and stuck in a rut. Patel set out to change that the sum- mer before his senior year by launching Insurmi, his conversational artificial in- telligence (A.I.) platform for the insur- Sonny Patel, the founder CEO of insurance app Insurmi, stands in the tech co-working space Galvanize in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 3, 2019. THOMAS HAWTHORNE/THE REPUBLIC Insurmi brings modern solution to insurance Georgann Yara Special to Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK See INSURMI, Page 3 Insurmi Where: 515 E. Grant St., Phoenix Employees: Six Interesting stat: The A.I. (artificial intelligence) market will grow to a $190 billion industry by 2025, according to research firm Markets and Markets. Details:

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