Wisconsin Colleges Fight Identity Theft And Fraud

Ann McClure's picture

It’s not every day that a woman from Nebraska pays for two students from Egypt to attend the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Staff became suspicious and investigated after one of the students came to the bursar’s office to get a refund because his account was overpaid after the woman’s credit card was used online in April to pay more than $3,300 on the students’ accounts. Employees later determined the woman never gave anyone permission to use her credit card number.

Officials prevented the payments from processing and, after a monthslong probe, the two students — ages 18 and 20 — were cited in November for theft as well as a computer data offense. If convicted of both noncriminal charges, they would each have to pay almost $750 in fines.

That’s just one example of the efforts colleges and universities are making to prevent crimes like identity theft, in which someone’s personal data, such as Social Security or credit card numbers, are wrongfully used to commit fraud — typically for financial gain.

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