Campus News

Herff Jones data breach leaves students’ bank information compromised

Herff Jones, a graduation cap and gown vendor for UH, experienced a data breach that has compromised students’ banking information | File Photo

A data breach at UH graduation cap and gown vendor, Herff Jones, has some students’ bank information compromised. 

Mariah Ochoa, a psychology senior, tweeted about her debit card information being stolen on Sunday, and received numerous replies of students having similar experiences.

“I ordered my cap and gown back in February or March,” Ochoa told the Cougar. “Just a few days ago, I received an email and phone call from my bank stating that my card information was hacked, but no money was taken from my account.”

She was a part of a group chat on GroupMe with other graduating seniors who were confused about the irregular bank activity.

“One member of the group searched up ‘Herff Jones’ on Twitter and found many tweets from other students on different campuses talking about how there’s been a nationwide breach and money has been stolen from their accounts,” Ochoa said.

“This member shared these tweets in the chat and now many people on our campus are sharing that they are experiencing the same thing,” Ochoa continued. “Either having frozen accounts or money being taken out of their accounts.” 

Ochoa’s account was frozen, and now she has no access to her money. She’s has not heard back from UH about this issue. 

“I was very frustrated learning this,” Ochoa said. “Graduation has been such a difficult process, which leaves a lot of us with unanswered questions. On top of that, now there’s a data breach? And no one is notifying us? We wish that either UH or Herff Jones would notify us when it comes to our personal information being stolen.”

The University is informed about the situation with Herff Jones and is monitoring it.

“The University of Houston is aware of a data breach that occurred on the website of Herff Jones, a vendor that provides caps, gowns and other commencement products to high school and college graduates,” said UH spokesperson Chris Stipes.

The issue is not unique to the UH system, Stipes said, and is a nationwide situation.

“As a result, some customers have reported fraudulent credit card and bank activity,” Stipes said. “UH System Information Security has investigated and confirmed that the transactions do not involve any systems at any of the four universities within the UH System. UHS will continue to monitor the situation and take additional actions as appropriate. The situation is not unique to UH or UH System universities, it is impacting schools across Texas and the nation.”

Herff Jones is currently investigating the issue and has disabled its payment functions.

“The University of Houston Campus Store is working directly with our graduates to make sure they have the latest information on the situation and to assist with any orders that may still be outstanding,” Stipes said.

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