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Dozens of Purdue international students reporting credit card fraud

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Dozens of Purdue University students from China reported cases of credit card fraud, but investigators said the problem seems to have started overseas.

For the past month, dozens of Purdue students from China have reported cases of credit card and bank card fraud.

“I know that the total loss is well over $100,000, right now, for credit card fraud,” Purdue Police Det. Jared Baer said.

So far, more than 30 students have filed reports. The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office, Purdue Police Department and West Lafayette Police Department are working together.

Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Huber said, right now, they believe the problem started in China.

“It appears that the banks, specifically over in China, have been compromised in some way,” Huber said.

Baer said there are other reports of similar fraudulent activity across the country, including several at Boston University.

“I discovered back in October of 2014 that there were multiple cases of Chinese students that were fraudulently hacked by someone, and they had their credit cards compromised,” Baer said.

Baer reached out to the secret service and was informed they do not plan on opening a federal case. Huber said cases like this can be frustrating because there is little local police can do.

“We feel helpless, just like the victims do, in that we want to help and assist in any way that we can. Sometimes our resources are pretty limited, especially when we start dealing with international activity. So, we basically just become a reporting agency and any investigation is usually pretty limited,” Huber said.

Local agencies are trying to contact the banks in China and are doing what they can to help the people affected.

“We’re helping them in taking the initial reports and referring back to their banks in China to assist them further with that,” Huber said.

“We’re also trying to work with the International Center here at the university, so that they can disseminate this information out amongst the international student community. So, that they are aware of what’s going on,” Baer said.

People with credit cards and accounts through banks in China should monitor their accounts for suspicious activity.