David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
That is SO U

June 9, 2017

File this in the "thank-god-that-wasn't-me" category:

Southern Oregon University (SOU) apparently wired $1.9 million to an entity pretending to be its contractor.  Yes, a major university fell prey to an email scam.  I think the summary of the events can best be captured by this line from The Mail Tribune: "Unknown suspects allegedly posed as Andersen Construction in an email, prompting officials to send their spring payment to a bank account the contractor did not control, according to Mark Denney, SOU’s vice president of budget and planning."  Actually that is not the best way to capture the summary of the events, otherwise it would say "SOU'S former vice president of budget and planning."  How does anyone's career survive falling prey to email scams?

SOU officials claim the loss of $1.9 million will not affect the project it was devoted to -- the building of a new recreation center -- nor "operating budget, programs, or operations."  That certainly can't sit well with opponents of higher education who think we mismanage our budgets anyway: "Yeah, we can't find about 2 million dollars, but don't sweat it.  Nothing will be affected."

Hilariously, but only if you are a guy like me with no skin in this game, the college also has to spend time refuting that their 12% tuition increase approved just last month "has nothing to do with the fraud. . . . this doesn't aggravate that."  Wow, 'aggravate.' Might have sought a better word there.  It doesn't help that the monetary mishap occurred at the end of April and the new tuition rates were announced in May.

Part of what surprises me about this is that I have seen dozens of email scams come to me in the guise of my bank from e-mailers who use the .edu domain in their addresses.  Some email address similar to ds10846@georgiasouthern.edu will tell me there has been a deposit made in my account and to click on the link to release it. Are they so dumb that they think I would assume someone associated with a university would never try to scam me?  This incident with SOU, perhaps now one of 80 colleges targeted this way (according to the linked article), suggests that maybe I need to turn that question around.  They think I am so dumb because I am associated with an institution of higher education. 

More importantly, it puts me in a musical frame of mind (no surprise there):

SO Indeep U (to the tune of Atlanta Rhythm Section's "So Into You")

When you emailed recent invoice
There was urgency in your lines.
Paid no attention to writing style,
But I could not let us get behind.
Now I stand here helplessly
Hoping you'll get the money back to me.

I am So indeep U
I can't think of nothing else.
I am So indeep U
I can't think of nothing else.
Thinkin' how it's gonna be
Whenever I update my CV.
It's gonna be hard
Don't you know,
To explain falling for fraud.
Gonna lose sleep all over,
Over and over,
Me screwed by you, you screwing me
Me screwed by you

I'm So Indeep U
I'm So Indeep U