A student’s GWorld card is their key to life on campus.
Students use the rectangular piece of plastic to check into residence halls, tap into libraries and pick up packages from Mail and Package Services. Even the emergency resources we rely on, like GW Police Department and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, are printed on the back of cards so they are constantly close to students.
Beyond the day-to-day activities GWorld is central to, students who live on-campus have thousands of dollars stored on the card and it serves as many students’ only form of payment for food and other necessities all semester.
Even though a student’s GWorld card is so vital, it can be misplaced. Because of this, the University should prioritize adding more security measures to protect students’ funds.
GW currently allows students to suspend a lost or stolen GWorld card, but extra security measures, like a four-digit PIN or purchasing alerts sent straight to students via email, would lessen the likelihood of stolen funds and give students peace of mind.
The card itself has no security measures, so in theory, anyone can swipe another individual’s card at a participating dining location like Whole Foods, Safeway or CVS and walk away with potentially thousands of dollars of stolen goods.
While that issue is prevalent, taking the physical GWorld card isn’t even necessary to access someone else’s funds. A simple snapshot of the ID number printed on the bottom of the card is all it takes to order food online for delivery.
Pictures of misplaced GWorld cards are frequently posted by responsible students in a Facebook group called the GW Lost and Found. But sometimes despite their good intentions, students do not always realize that a full picture of someone’s GWorld card can give access to their funds by using the GWorld ID number listed under the photograph.
It is clear that there are a number of remarkably simple ways that students’ funds can be compromised through the GWorld system. With the ability to make purchases with only the GWorld ID number, victimized students have difficulty proving that the purchases made on their cards were unauthorized, especially if their card is still in their possession.
The University must implement an additional security measure like a PIN number to prevent theft. A simple four-digit pin to use the card would go a long way to deter theft. The University should take the safety of students’ money seriously, especially given the fact that students who live in on-campus housing are required to use dining cash on their GWorld.
No student should have to worry about their financial security because the GWorld system is vulnerable. Students rely on the University to protect them on campus, and this should include protecting their funds in University accounts.
Galen Ekimov, a freshman majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet opinions writer.
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This article appeared in the February 21, 2019 issue of the Hatchet.