The Florida A&M Department of Public Safety is still investigating a case in August where students had their private iRattler accounts hacked. Authorities will not disclose the number of students affected from this bank fraud.
However, Shane Williams, a student at FAMU discovered he was not the only victim in the recent iRattler case. After waiting at the police station, Williams witnessed eight other students that also had their financial aid reimbursement money stolen.
Williams noticed his refund money was posted, but his direct deposit process was taking longer than usual. Because of this, he checked his routing number in iRattler.
“I saw that it was a routing number and an account number that wasn’t familiar to me,” said Williams, 22, a fifth-year computer engineering technology student. “At first I assumed maybe it’s FAMU getting the money routed to them and then they are going to mail the check to me.”
Williams changed his account number to the one he had previously. After speaking to the office of student accounts concerning his direct deposit, he was told his money was transferred to an unknown bank account number.
“I Googled the routing number that I had seen and it gave me some bank in Texas,” said Williams. “I called that bank and they said someone created an account in my name on Aug. 31.”
On his iRattler account it revealed that someone gained unauthorized access and changed his bank account routing number at 4:09 a.m. The office for student accounts asked if another individual had his password, or if he accidently left his iRattler account open.
Williams said no one has his password and as a fifth year student at FAMU he is aware not to leave his iRattler account unattended. However, he said that the ability to find detail-classified information in an advanced digital system such as iRattler is not a simple task.
“An average Joe wouldn’t be able to find your social security number on your iRattler,” said Williams. “So I’m not pointing any fingers but it has to be someone that is really familiar with the system. Because it’s pretty hard for me to find my own social security number on iRattler.”
Administration allowed Williams to apply for a short-term loan for the same amount of funds that were stolen from his account. But his main concern is not money but his identity.
“I mean, of course not having $1,000 is going to hit me,” said Williams. “Once somebody gets your social security number, I mean that’s basically your life. They can give you debt that is impossible to pay back.”
Two suspects were released on bond for a similar crime, but a case that involved identity theft. The men were arrested for accessing unauthorized student iRattler accounts. Ryan Owens, 19, was charged with fraud in August. Haskel Davis III, 22, was charged for the same count. Davis turned himself in to Leon County Jail on Sept. 17 after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. The men are being questioned for an incident that occurred in April this year.