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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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