A security breach at an off-campus bookstore near East Carolina University has left fraudulent charges on students’ credit cards.
ECU Student Body President Tremayne Smith said the breach was brought to his attention Jan. 26 by a concerned father whose daughter was missing money from her account after shopping at the University Book Exchange.
After further investigation, Smith and the ECU Student Government Association composed an e-mail to encourage students who had shopped at the bookstore to check their balances.
“We got on the horn, crafted the message and got awareness out,” Smith said. He said he has been approached by several students thanking him for the message, which prompted them to check their bank accounts.
Michael Sullivan, a junior construction management major at ECU, said he found fraudulent charges on his Wachovia card after purchasing textbooks at the bookstore.
The four transactions totaled more than $200 and were made between Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 at gas stations in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I was about to go to the grocery store, then realized I should check my account just to see and noticed charges at places I don’t even know the locations for,” Sullivan said.
The University Book Exchange has not yet been accused of negligence, Smith said. The store is planning on having a forensic team investigate the extent and source of the breach next week.
In the wake of the breach, Smith said he suggests students contact their financial institutions and check for fraudulent charges. In the event of any missing funds, students are encouraged to file a report with the police.
As for Sullivan, this incident might prevent him from shopping at University Book Exchange again.
“I think it is pretty pathetic that UBE can’t maintain simple credit card security, especially as it supports a school of 30,000 plus students,” he said.
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