A number of college students across the country have reportedly been lured into a credit card scheme that preys on their willingness to help fellow students in need. According to the Better Business Bureau, numerous universities have reported losing thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases made with stolen credit card information at campus bookstores.
Investigations in to the matter have revealed a similar pattern in each of the cases that sees a perpetrator claiming to have lost their student ID card, and coaxing unsuspecting students to provide their valid student ID as a voucher for the fraudster. The fraudster then makes their purchase, in many cases buying high-end electronics, with false credit card information that matches their false identification.
FBI investigators believe campus bookstores represent valuable targets for fraudsters, and this scheme in particular, as they tend to offer special discounts for students who may also not see anything wrong with helping a stranger claiming to be classmate.
The FBI released a public service announcement this past June through its campus liaison agents warning of the credit card scheme. The announcement issued the following tips to help protect against the scam:
- For students, don’t agree to facilitate a purchase for someone who does not have a valid student ID.
- For university administrators, establish a procedure for campus bookstores that doesn’t allow a purchaser to use a credit card in someone else’s name.
Campuses began reporting the fraud scheme last April having sustained losses of several thousands of dollars in each occurrence. Fraud of this nature serves as a reminder that the campus card can serve as a valuable link in the identity chain, and as such should be treated with the proper caution when making purchases and vetting identities.