The Boston College Police Department (BCPD) is currently investigating reports of fraudulent credit card activity following purchases of online tickets for campus events, according to an email University administrators sent to the BC community on Friday.
“The reports concern transactions involving online tickets purchased through AudienceView’s website in January and February of 2023, and do not pertain to tickets purchased in person at the Robsham Theater Box Office, or for tickets sold by BC Athletics,” the email reads.
The tickets were purchased through the University ticketing website, which is hosted by the third-party vendor AudienceView, according to the email. AudienceView said the fraudulent activity resulted from a security issue that occurred within the company.
“In a notice to Boston College, AudienceView confirmed that a security incident involving consumers’ credit card information had occurred at their organization, which affected individuals at several colleges and universities that use their service,” the email reads.
Britton Smith—whose credit card information was stolen after buying an online ticket—woke up the morning of Feb. 14 with two texts from his billing provider, alerting him to a charge at Walmart as well as a series of other purchases he did not make.
“One was like a $400 purchase at Viasat … that got declined and then a $2000 purchase at Lowe’s, which was declined,” Smith, CSOM ’24, said. “And then I received an email as well on my BC email, saying that I’d been signed up for like a Milo’s membership or something like that.”
Looking back at his prior purchases, Smith said the only one that stuck out as a potential cause of the suspicious card activity was a recent charge from the Robsham Box Office for a ticket to the ALC Ball on Feb. 1.
“But that didn’t really click until my mom saw on the BC parents Facebook that a bunch of other BC students have apparently gotten their credit card info stolen,” Smith said. “So, I looked through Herrd, and, yeah, I saw a bunch of other people who had the same experience.”
Emily Hyder, MCAS ’23; Maddy Mitchell, CSOM ’23; and Kayla Vidal, MCAS ’23, were all notified of fraudulent charges to their credit cards after purchasing tickets to the 100 Days Dance from Robsham Box Office.
“The Wednesday after [the dance], I got a notification from my credit card that said that someone was trying to spend $375 at Walmart.com,” Hyder said. “So I called, and I canceled the card, and then I went on to my statement online, and it said that someone had just spent $50 on Amazon and also bought an Amazon Prime membership.”
Mitchell first noticed a fraudulent charge on Feb. 16 for an $180 purchase in a Walmart in Bentonville, Ark.
“Obviously, I was not in Arkansas,” Mitchell said. “So I texted my mom and basically just ended up … reporting the charge as fraud and canceling my debit card because it said it came through my debit card … and issued myself a new one.”
By Tuesday, Mitchell said she began hearing about students who had similar experiences.
“A lot of other people were also saying charges from Walmart in Arkansas and obviously like various other ones as well … so I realized that it was connected to a bigger thing and not just a personal thing that I had dealt with,” Mitchell said.
Vidal received texts from her bank account notifying her of the fraudulent charges on the night of Feb. 22, two weeks after she bought a ticket for the 100 Days Dance.
“I got a text overnight that was like please verify these claims,” Vidal said. “A couple of them were the ones … that I have made but the last couple were the ones from Walmart. And I think it was $152 that they charged on my card on my account to Walmart.”
Vidal said she realized the charges were related to her purchase through Robsham after hearing how other students were affected.
“I didn’t really use my card much,” Vidal said. “So like the common denominator in terms of what people have been thinking, for me, would just be the dance. I didn’t charge it anywhere else.”
According to the email, AudienceView is currently in the process of identifying a list of those potentially impacted by the security issue and will communicate directly with them either through letter or email. For the time being, online ticket sales through AudienceView will be suspended until the issue is resolved.
“We regret that some members of the BC community who purchased online tickets for campus events through this vendor’s platform have been affected by this security issue,” the email reads. “We encourage you to look out for correspondence from AudienceView in the coming days, and follow the company’s recommendations to protect yourself from fraudulent activity.”