Woman’s $18K Mistake Goes Viral As Typo Leads Her To Overpay Gas Bill

A woman’s $18K mistake turned to her moment of internet fame after a mistake on her utility bill caused her to grossly overpay.

The woman’s $18K mistake happened as she was filling out her Southwest Gas bill online, My Fox Phoenix reported. The bill was for $18.29 , bit she accidentally turned the decimal point into a zero.

Debra Tupper, the woman who made the $18K mistake, said she is normally careful with her money, and was shocked to find out that the utility company had drawn a small fortune from her bank account.

“I paid the bill online — it was $18.69 and it was a keystroke error, so it went out at $18,069,” Tupper said.

When Tupper first received a call from Wells Fargo that her account was $18,000 under, she thought someone had stolen her identity, ABC 15 in Phoenix reported.

“I lost my iPad on a plane and thought someone had used it to break into my bank account,” said Tupper.

Tupper turned to Southwest Gas for help fixing the mistake, but it has been difficult fixing the $18K mistake.

“The first person I spoke to with Southwest Gas informed me that they would look into it and it would be credited to my account. I don’t know who would use $18,000 in gas in a lifetime — it certainly wouldn’t be me. I live alone. I’m single.”


But the problem didn’t go away right away. In fact, the woman’s $18K mistake only snowballed as her bank account sat empty and she started to accumulate overdrafts and penalties. Tupper said she had to borrow money from a friend just to get by.

Southwest Gas made a statement saying it was working with the woman to fix the $18K mistake:

“We sympathize with Ms. Tupper, the customer involved. We have worked with Ms. Tupper and her bank to rectify her overpayment as swiftly as possible, while keeping all security and fraud protection practices in place. We are pleased that all funds are expected to be returned to the customer within the next few business days. As always, Southwest Gas is committed to delivering exceptional safety, service and reliability to our customers and the communities we serve.”

The woman’s $18K mistake has become a national story, trending on the internet and featured on a number of national news sites. Tupper said she takes full responsibility for the $18K mistake, and hopes it serve as a warning to others paying their bills online.