Book Store Security Breach Causing Financial Aid Problems For Some ECU Students

Almost a month after a security breach was recognized and fixed at a local bookstore near East Carolina University, unauthorized charges are still posting to some students' accounts. One student says that's a problem because he's temporarily losing financial aid money.

Andrew Boyd says he bought his books from University Book Exchange in early January and says on Sunday, he noticed three unauthorized charges for about $200 on his ECU Higher One card, which he used to buy his books with.

Higher One distributes financial aid monies to students at East Carolina and many other universities across the country. Students can receive the money through a Higher One debit card, or they can choose to receive a paper check or have the money deposited into a separate checking account. Boyd says his financial aid money was on his Higher One card, which was compromised during UBE's security breach. He says he's contacted Higher One, and was told it could take up to 90 days to get his money back - a problem because he lives off his financial aid money.

"I use that money to pay off bills- cell phone, food and stuff - it kind of puts me at a pretty hard place for paying all that stuff back," said Boyd.

WITN also talked with ECU's financial aid director Julie Poorman, who said once financial aid money is distributed, it's not really considered financial aid anymore - and having it stolen is like having a computer or other property stolen.

Poorman says if your card has been compromised, you should file a police report, and says ECU may be able to do a budget adjustment to help students get more financial aid if they're struggling- although getting more aid is not guaranteed. UBE says the security breach has been fixed. It says it's added new security software and is implementing other security measures in the store as well, but didn't want to announce what those were.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Another Pirate Mom Location: Charlotte on Mar 22, 2011 at 02:19 PM
    Today we received a call from my daughter's bank (Wachovia/WF); a 179.00 fraud transaction at a CVS Store was detected by Wachovia. Once we confirmed this transaction was unauthorized, the funds were immediately put back into my daughter's account (in a matter of minutes). Thank goodness we bank at Wachovia! Hope everyone with Higher One gets their funds back soon! Totally unacceptable that kids are having to wait 90 days! That should be a crime.
  • by ECU Student Location: Greenville on Feb 17, 2011 at 06:08 PM
    I have had fraudulent transactions on my Higher One card also. The last time I used my card was mid- January when I bought my textbooks from UBE. Almost $2400 was spent in one day from my account last week, and it was all in California. Most, but not all, of the transactions were made at Walmart in amounts of $250.00. I was told that I had to call and leave a message for the detective handling this at the Greenville Police Department. His answering machine says it could be 5 days before he calls me back. Therefore, I have not been able to file a police report, but I have already contacted Higher One. They said it could be up to 90 days before I get my money back (if I get it back). So how am I supposed to pay rent for the next three months?!
  • by Pirate Mom Location: Wilson on Feb 15, 2011 at 06:25 PM
    Ok my son just caught a charge from this past Saturday. Game Stop in New Jersey also. Apparently its not fixed! They are telling him 90 days and I am saying Higher One must fall under the Banking Commission and i will be calling them and the police WITN and anyone else to see why this has not been taken care of.Its a crying shame that these kids are going to school and are borrowing money and some low life thief is stealing their money.Why is ECU not protecting their students and getting involved?
  • by Nicole Location: Greenville on Feb 14, 2011 at 08:17 AM
    Money was stolen from me as well but I used my bank debit card (the bank is located in MD) While this situation is not a good position for any student to be in it is not just Higher One that takes up to 90 days to refund the money. I think that it is regulation for financial fraud that occurs becuase my bank told me the same thing! Hope you all get your money back soon!
  • by Cassandrs Location: Anderson on Feb 13, 2011 at 08:12 PM
    My daughter just learned she had money used off of her account. About a thousand dollars worth. Suspicious activity from kroger a d walmart. This is financial aid money from her ECU one card account. How is this possible and who is responsible for returning those funds being the higher one bank knew about it. Whoever the spokesperson is said the problem is fixed. But it is not someone still has access! Please help!
  • by ECU mom Location: Greenville on Feb 8, 2011 at 10:27 PM
    My daughter's Higher One Card was used twice. Almost $2000 was taken. Higher One told her it could take up to 90 days for her to get the money back. The semester end the first week of May! This is Federal Financial Aid money. If she owed ECU $2000, would they let her wait 3 months to pay? Why hasn't ECU made ANY statement about this huge problem? The ECU Student Government Association took the high road and released the information.
  • by J on Feb 2, 2011 at 06:58 AM
    I had my debit card compromised a year ago, and there were strings of charges for like $500 worth of shoes being sent to new jersey, hundreds of dollars at samsclub.com, and all kinds of other things. It was a nightmare, but only because I had just one account. Of course the bank was professional about this because they see it everyday. I had one phonecall with their fraud specialist, but the catch is that all the charges are still let through your account, and for each one they send you an affadavit in the mail to sign and send back, and in 48 hours the amount is credited BACK to your account. But in the meantime, if you only have one account, there's a lot of scrambling going on. You should have your daily bills going through a separate checking account, and your day to day spending and small purchases through another.
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