Many graduating seniors’ financial information was stolen after the company IU requires graduating students purchase their caps and gowns from, Herff Jones, experienced a data breach.
The data breach compromised the financial information of graduates across the country. Herff Jones released a statement Wednesday apologizing for the data breach and stating they hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate the incident.
Students have had to order new credit and debit cards, freeze their bank accounts and file claims to regain money spent on fraudulent purchases. IU students said that neither Herff Jones nor IU notified them of the issue.
Recent graduate Lauren Halsema lost $2,600 in fraudulent purchases from Apple. Halsema appealed the charges to her bank and has gotten $1,600 back so far. Halsema said she found out the hack was related to Herff Jones days later once many of her friends were also hacked and the situation gained attention on Twitter.
“I think Herff Jones needs to reach out to everybody that could have been affected. I mean, you’re talking about thousands upon thousands of people in the US who use them for caps and gowns for graduation,” Halsema said. “Let everybody know what’s going on and how to fix this so we can all move forward and get our money back.”
Recent graduate Emma Cline and all four of her roommates found fraudulent charges on their bank accounts. Cline’s bank notified her of a suspicious purchase: $222 spent at a combustion motor shop. Cline’s roommates found purchases of up to $1,000 on their cards, but did not know how their information was stolen until they saw a news article about the Herff Jones data breach.
Recent graduate Nick Martinez was charged $500 by a Best Buy in Minnesota and recent graduate Holden Abshier was charged $50 from Adidas. Both learned of Herff Jones’ involvement through Twitter, but were never contacted by the company.
The hack also impacted students completing graduate school. Recent master’s program graduate Daniela Molina, who was charged $225 in DoorDash purchases, said the data breach added stress to an already crazy graduation week.
“I think it’s just ridiculous that there’s been no statement. Graduation is very stressful. It’s also a time of accomplishment. If you’re not actively looking at your bank account to see any random changes, you probably won’t notice,” Molina said.
Halsema agreed that the data breach complicated graduation.
“This is supposed to be a great time in somebody's life, and then they have to deal with this,” Halsema said.