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BU graduates had identities stolen while buying caps and gowns

The BU students were the victim of a cyberattack that affected college students nationwide who ordered graduation regalia through the vendor Herff Jones.
The BU students were the victim of a cyberattack that affected college students nationwide who ordered graduation regalia through the vendor Herff Jones.The Boston Globe

A month after more than 150 Boston University students were victims of credit card fraud while buying their commencement caps and gowns, some of them say they still haven’t received their money back.

The BU students were the victim of a cyberattack that affected college students nationwide who ordered graduation regalia through the vendor Herff Jones. The attack compromised the personal accounts of thousands of student customers, according to news reports.

Shea Robinson, a 22-year-old public relations graduate became aware her debit card was stolen just two weeks before the May 16 commencement through an e-mail from her bank alerting her to potentially fraudulent activity on her card.

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“At first I was worried that it was some spam message from someone trying to impersonate my bank or something,” Robinson said. “But then, I looked at ... my bank account.”

Someone had made a $300 purchase from Fashion Nova, a trendy online clothing retailer that Robinson does not use. She’s still awaiting a refund.

Upon learning her card information was stolen, Robinson reported the theft and continued handing in final exams, enjoying the end of her college experience, and preparing to graduate. Then, she went on a private Facebook group for BU students, where a classmate had asked if other students had experienced fraudulent purchases after buying their caps and gowns.

From there, she went about telling her friends about the fraud and urging them to check whether they were also victims.

Indianapolis-based Herff Jones is facing three lawsuits from college students and their parents over the fraudulent credit- and debit-card charges, the Indiana Business Journal Reported on Friday.

The company said it has taken steps to mitigate the fallout from the cyberattack and has been working with law enforcement on the investigation.

“Herff Jones recently became aware of suspicious activity involving certain customers’ payment card information,” the company said in a statement May 12. “We promptly launched an investigation and engaged a leading cybersecurity firm to assist in assessing the scope of the incident. Herff Jones is committed to the privacy and security of its customers, and we take this responsibility seriously.”

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BU declined a request for comment, citing a BU Today article that quoted Herff Jones’s statement as its response.



Diana Bravo can be reached at diana.bravo@globe.com.