A few years ago a movie called “Accepted” came out in theaters. The film, with its archetypal characters and predictable punchlines, was not terribly unique from other comedy movies targeted towards teenagers. The plot, however, was different from others as it centered around a recent high school graduate who was rejected from every college to which he applied, and was therefore desperate for admittance to a school in order to impress his parents. Predictably, several of his friends found themselves in similar situations. How do they handle this dilemma? They create a fake university online in order fool their parents into believing they were indeed… accepted. Needless to say, the seemingly genius plan spirals out of control as students across the nation find the university online and show up, tuition checks in hand, wanting admittance to the fake institution as well.
Seem far-fetched and completely impossible? Think again.
The University of Redwood was incredibly promising. The campus pictures on the website beautifully depicted students in state-of-the-art classrooms studying hard and a large, historical campus. The site also contained a full faculty directory. Too bad it was all a fraud.
The “university” stole the website information from the real Reed College very convincingly. Unfortunately, its creators did not do so in order to helps high school seniors lie to their parents and finally feel “accepted,” they just wanted to scam them out of application fees.
Many victims were international students who would pay the acceptance fee to the fake school online, receive a rejection letter several weeks later, and never see their money again.
Good thing the creators have been caught and punished, right? Wrong.
In fact, the website for the University of Redwood is still up, and still scamming. Reed College is currently working to get the site removed, hopefully in the near future. Feel free to check out the fake college, just make sure not to apply!
To read the original article about the use of online technology for fraud, visit Gizmodo.com.