Scammers looking to steal electronics are using a new scheme targeting university stores across the country, FBI officials said.

Law enforcement agencies are warning higher education institutions about potential credit card scams involving electronic purchases.

The FBI said the scams, which began this spring, target campus bookstores and students with valid campus identification. Scammers use students to help purchase high-end electronics, particularly Apple products, using students’ valid campus IDs and a stolen or cloned credit card.

Here’s how the scam works:

  • Perpetrators coerce unwitting students into helping them purchase electronics by claiming to be current students who have lost their student IDs.
  • The unwitting students are shown a cloned credit card and identification matching the name on the cloned credit card.
  • Perpetrators accompany students to the campus store cash register and swipes the cloned credit card, while the legitimate student shows the clerk valid campus ID.
FBI officials said that in some cases, perpetrators swiped several declined cards before one was accepted.

To protect yourself from the scam, law enforcement officials recommend you:

  • Do not facilitate a purchase from someone who does not provide valid student ID — especially someone you don’t know.
  • Establish procedures at campus stores that include provisions against allowing someone to use a credit card in someone else’s name.
If you have been a victim of the scam, contact UAB Police.
TechConnect's Laptop Program has a number of new options for students — and through the summer, those computers qualify for a $150 rebate for students through Dell.

The laptop program is convenient for students because they can get service and support right on campus at TechConnect, UAB IT's technology store at the Hill Student Center. Purchases made through the Laptop Program include:
  • Educational pricing
  • 3-year premium warranty and accidental damage protection
  • Pre-loaded with UAB software
  • Loaner laptop while yours is being repaired
  • On-campus service and support
TechConnect's experts have developed recommendations for the best options for students through the Laptop Program. Visit the store on the first floor of the Hill Center or visit the web site at uab.edu/TechConnect.
GoodGames

The gift of two monitors for Good Games UAB will help the student organization with growing eSports activities on campus — activities that help foster innovation.

Windstream donated the two monitors to the group on Wednesday, May 24.

“Our thanks to Windstream; these monitors are invaluable to us,” said Michael Pitts, president of Good Games UAB, or gg.UAB. “We also want to thank UAB IT for their continued support. We would not have the infrastructure to do what we do without you.”

Good Games hosts a number of gaming events on campus, including its largest, BlazerCon, which attracted more than 500 people in April. The student organization is part of a growing eSports, or online gaming, trend. About a quarter of millenials say they watch eSports daily. There are 1,600 club programs across the country, with 600 universities involved — and 11 universities even have varsity teams.





UAB Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. said gaming is about having fun — but it’s also about innovation. Supporting the group makes sense because UAB IT wants “partnerships with young people at UAB who think in a different way,” he said.

“The members of GoodGames think outside the box, they are very diverse, and believe it or not, they are quite social,” Carver said. “They want to change the world.”

Windstream representative Greg Jenkins said he attended BlazerCon and was excited to see so many young people involved.

“I saw the diversity among those who attended,” he said. “It was a fantastic thing.”

Pitts said involvement in Good Games has given members leadership experience and helped them develop goals to grow gaming and eSports.

“We want to build an all-inclusive gaming community,” he said.
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Keeping information technology at the forefront of strategic planning helps advance not only UAB but also the Birmingham community, UAB and city leaders told members of the Alabama CIO Leadership Association Thursday, May 25, at a meeting of the group on campus.

“There is no question that IT is at the center of everything we do,” said UAB President Dr. Ray L. Watts said, noting that to achieve a world-class health system and provide resources for ground-breaking research, a strong IT infrastructure is key. “The role of IT is advancing our mission. Continued strategic planning around IT is vital for our organization.”

Watts credited UAB Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. with making great strides in improving UAB’s technology infrastructure, security and research computing over the past two years.

“It’s hard to believe how much we have accomplished in the past two years under Dr. Carver,” Watts said.

Among the IT accomplishments at UAB since June 2015 are one of the fastest university supercomputers in the Southeast; the fastest university internet in the state; and a more than fivefold improvement in the service rating of the AskIT help desk.

But UAB is also taking a leading role in improving the technology ecosystem in Birmingham — in fact, enhancing the community of IT excellence is one of UAB’s seven IT imperatives.

UAB is working to extend its successes to the community at large, with the expansion of the 100GB network to Innovation Depot expected by this fall, which will give the city a competitive advantage when attracting new businesses.

UAB has also partnered with Innovation Depot and other businesses on a grant to train new technology employees in the community.

The first Innovate Birmingham class graduated in May, with 15 of the 18 graduates taking jobs at local businesses, including two at UAB IT.

The new workforce initiative is giving young people opportunities to succeed — and helping to supply the growing need for technology employees, said Josh Carpenter, UAB director of external affairs, principal investigator for the America’s Promise grant that paved the way for the Innovate Birmingham program.

Innovation Depot has been a partner in Innovate Birmingham, housing the classes for students and taking an active role in the program. Director Jennifer Skjellum said building partnerships in the technology community is key to growing Birmingham.

“Our overall mission is to grow the technology ecosystem — and to make sure there are a lot of ecosystem partners,” she said.

Carpenter said the city can be a role model for even larger metropolitan areas through programs such as Innovate Birmingham.

“Birmingham is small enough to create alignment,” he said. “That’s extremely rare in large cities. We’re small enough to move the needle on something like youth unemployment, but large enough to provide scalable solutions.”

Bob Crutchfield, operating partner with Harbert Growth Partners, said UAB is a “crown jewel” for the city.

“UAB has been an igniter for a lot of the things we are trying to do in downtown Birmingham,” he said.
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