Monday, April 26, 2010

Identity Theft Hits Boalt Students

I wanted to warn everyone about credit card information theft that's been occurring in Berkeley. At least seven students (edited to include Will) have had credit card information stolen and used as far away as Tennessee and a few students have fallen victim more than once.

It's unclear where the theft is taking place, but it's a safe assumption that it's happening at a retail location near campus. Everyone should be vigilant in checking credit card statements and might want to think about using cash around campus or in Berkeley in general.

35 Comments:

Anonymous sam z said...

very informative post, james. thanks for keeping us updated on the latest campus happenings.

my favorite part was when you discussed "safe assumptions".

very truly yours,
sam

4/26/2010 3:11 PM  
Blogger Will said...

I'm so jaded I can't tell if sam z is being a dick or not.

Anyway, it happened to me about 5-6 weeks ago. I had several attempted charges in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, including >$80 at a Wawa. I don't know who you were counting in your 6 students, but I know another two 2Ls that had their numbers stolen too.

Just keep an eye on your online balance and watch for odd charges, especially if you use a check card instead of a credit card for a lot of your purchases.

4/26/2010 3:16 PM  
Blogger Bacon said...

The same thing happened to my girlfriend, and by narrowing down her purchases, we think we tracked it to use of a Berkeley parking ticket machine. Can others who have had their CC#'s stolen confirm whether or not they used these parking ticket dispensers around the time of their respective thefts? If so, it would be really satisfying to bring a shitstorm to Berkeley Parking Authority's doorstep.

4/26/2010 3:41 PM  
Blogger James said...

I know some of the victims do not have cars, but it is interesting to think about the parking meters. There is no camera to ensure a device hasn't been placed on the machine to read card data.

4/26/2010 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what if it's zeb's payback for us forcing them to get a credit card machine?

4/26/2010 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

had credit card number stolen also over spring break. It was used in online stores. -Boalt 3L.

4/26/2010 4:44 PM  
Blogger Kyle Stone said...

Property is theft.

~Karl Marx (or was it his side-kick?)

4/26/2010 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mine (2L) was stolen over SB, used in NY. Whoever stole it made a legit card to use using my info. I do use parking machines.

Check your bank statements regularly!

4/26/2010 6:24 PM  
Blogger James said...

Wow, so I've heard from a few more 2Ls who had their cc#'s stolen over break. They were used in WaWas also.

4/26/2010 6:34 PM  
Blogger Jackie O said...

had mine stolen over spring break (spent in Berkeley) also but mine was used overseas. I don't use parking meters. Also, what's a WaWa?

4/26/2010 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also had mine stolen over Spring Break (2L). Used my actual card number at stores in FL, but the card itself was never stolen . . . made a new card with the number?

4/26/2010 8:47 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

WaWa = 7/11 for NJ/Philly

-someone from NJ who didn't steal your identiy

4/26/2010 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the last month I have had both of my credit cards compromised. I use the Berkeley parking meters (but lets not be too quick to jump to conclusions.)

4/26/2010 10:44 PM  
Blogger Jackie O said...

my money is on a local cafe. coffee seems like the common denominator among law students. more so than parking meters.

4/26/2010 11:16 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

@Jackie, WaWas are giant gas stations / snack emporiums, aimed at truckers, that pepper the roadways of the South and East. Kind of like a really nice version of a Flying J.

I use the parking meters, and I don't think my info has been stolen. But a number of my friends have reported similar problems. Maybe it's Zeb, and we've finally discovered the reason behind their sudden acceptance of credit cards!

4/26/2010 11:49 PM  
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4/27/2010 1:44 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Heh. I started to remove the above comment, but then I thought that on this thread it's sort of fitting in its own degenerate way.

4/27/2010 5:17 AM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

James said...

I think the threat of identity theft is exaggerated.

Also, I deeply regret posting "BAAT" press releases on N&B.

4/27/2010 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of BAAT, can somebody explain this?

From events this week: Boalt Alliance to Abolish Torture (BAAT) will be selling our last batch of t-shirts for $15 each. The shirts are black American Apparel, and read 'Torture is Illegal' on the front with a quote of the U.N. Convention Against Torture on the back. Please bring checks. We do not accept cash.

BAAT doesn't accept cash? Why? Are they tracking who buys their shirts?

4/27/2010 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I already posted about my stolen credit card, but it appears that my card number was used to buy makeup and something in an itunes store. I wonder also if this could have to do with spyware that has been going around on people's computers. I recently had a bunch of spyware removed including a very nasty Antimalware Doctor thing. The amazing woman who took it off in the computer lab said that computer problems have been cropping up. I don't know much about computers- could this have something to do with it? It is interesting that so many people had their info stolen right around Spring break.

4/27/2010 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My credit card info was stolen as well. Capital One caught it. I think it is either a local cafe or restaurant; I do not use parking machines. I also highly doubt it is spyware considering I use Linux and am a former computer security professional.

4/27/2010 3:37 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Speaking of... cash? (Okay, that transition was a stretch), is N&B willing to run a post advertising how the Class of 2010 can donate to the class campaign? I know there have been and probably will continue to be debates in the comments about whether or not people SHOULD donate, but will the blog at least get the word out about how it's done?

If you're full of ire at the administration and don't want to donate straight to the school, you can specify which student group, clinic, journal, LRAP, or other program your money goes to. Graduating 3Ls donations will be matched 3:1! Go to this page to make a donation:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/128.htm

If your organization is not specifically listed, use the general Boalt Hall Donation Form. In the field for "special instructions" let them know where you'd like the money to go.

Cheers!

4/27/2010 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I remember an article in the SF Chronicle awhile back about credit card skimmers being put on gas station pumps, etc. in Berkeley. Here is the article:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/31/BAGF1CNI0Q.DTL

I am not sure if everything going on with Boalt students is related to the same CC skimmers as above but the time periods seem to match up. Pretty scary if it's still going on a month later, given most students use credit or debit cards all around the city.

.. going to go check my CC statements now..

-2l

4/27/2010 6:02 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Based on the number of "It happened to me, too!" comments on this thread, I really doubt the source of the theft is a parking machine.

It's probably an employee at somplace like Strada or Cafe Milano. Or one of the restaurants on Durant Street. (Granted, it would have to be a place where people don't pay only by cash.)

4/28/2010 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It happened to me, too!

Right around Spring Break. They must have created a card with the number, because it was used at a Macy's and a gas station in Maryland. I do drive and don't think I've ever not paid cash at strada or zeb or any of those places, for whatever it's worth...

4/28/2010 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My card got stolen-- Wells Fargo called to let me know it was a vendor around campus. It was used to purchase video games through PayPal and auto parts from an online retailer. I've never used one of the parking machines. The only place I ever really use my credit card is Walgreens-- I use cash or my debit card usually.

4/28/2010 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James- Thanks for the post.
Victims- Why not get together and compare CC bills so you can find the source of the problem? I'd hate to have the good name of the parking meters of Berkeley sullied over this deplorable incident...

4/28/2010 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:52, great idea! I embrace every possible opportunity to play Nancy Drew. I'm a bit flustered with finals, though. Does anyone feel like they might be able to take on coordinating that?

4/28/2010 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happened to me during sb too, whoever it was made a card and bought stuff at a subway and walmart in kentucky. don't use parking machines but used my card often around berkeley. not at zeb or strada though.

4/29/2010 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Chipotle? I think everyone at Boalt goes there - know I do, and my card was stolen.

Not sure how widespread this is, but it's also possible that an online vendor was compromised, and that we all just think it's around Berkeley because so many of us have been hit. My brother's card was used fraudulently a couple days ago and he doesn't live in Berkeley. Of course, this shit just happens, but I think it's pretty suspicious.

4/29/2010 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mine was stolen over SB too!! Most interesting purchase: $150 at a Gymboree in Canada. My last purchases in Berkeley before it was stolen were: cafe milano, sam's, and walgreens. Anyone go there around the same time?

5/01/2010 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah... I've been going to Cafe Milano and the Walgreens on Shattuck. Card stolen around then.

5/02/2010 1:18 AM  
Anonymous eddz1949 said...

This is a bad news for the students, imagine spreading the personal in formations of over thousands of students in that school. Scams and schemes are running rampant on the Internet today, we need to be sure that we protect ourselves from identity thieves.

5/04/2010 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Monica V. said...

Mine got stolen too, and was used during Spring Break. They used it at a bunch of Walmarts and gas stations in Texas. I use the parking meters frequently and have used my card at Zeb, Strada and Cafe Milano.

5/05/2010 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my info stolen as well, but I've never once swiped my credit card at Zeb, Strada, or Cafe Milano. I am a frequent Walgreens customer though. Guess I'm paying cash there for awhile.

5/26/2010 11:49 PM  

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