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Prestigious College Protests Virtual Twin, So Far to No Avail

Posted Mar 1, 2011 7:28 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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It isn't just individuals whose identity can be hijacked. Officials at prestigious Reed College, in Portland, Ore., were stunned to discover last year that much of their website had been copied by the nonexistent "University of Redwood," reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

Although Reed has sought to shut down its virtual twin's Internet persona, the website for the fictitious educational institution remains live, at least for now. A page on the fake university's site, for example, displays the identical "faculty" photo that is also displayed on a page on the legitimate Reed College site.

Officials at Reed suspect that the fake site might be used to trick some foreign students into "applying"—along with application fees—to the nonexistent university, the WSJ reports.

"A shrewd scammer could wait several weeks, then issue a rejection letter, and the student would never know," explains Martin Ringle, who serves as Reed's chief technology officer.

The newspaper was unable to reach anyone connected to the fake Redwood website.

Additional coverage:

Inside Higher Ed: "Reed College Battles to Remove Copycat Website"

Oregonian: "Fake California school steals website content from Portland's Reed College; Reed warns of scam"

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