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UNL sexual assault awareness fundraiser defrauded of nearly $11,000, police say
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UNL sexual assault awareness fundraiser defrauded of nearly $11,000, police say

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MAW fraternity signs

Fraternities and sororities across the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including Phi Kappa Psi, sport banners in support of sexual assault survivors following an alleged rape at a Greek house on the first day of classes this fall.

A fifth of adults have put themselves at 'significant' risk of internet fraud by oversharing on social media, according to a study. Birthday dates, names of pets, phone numbers and even their home address, are among the personal details most commonly shared by the 2,000 adults polled. But despite this, 29 per cent of adults think they'll never be a victim of online fraud - an over confidence that could cost them. The Lloyds Bank research found 30 per cent have no idea if the data they've uploaded to the likes of Twitter and Facebook could leave them vulnerable to crime.

After raising more than $10,000 for a local support organization for survivors of sexual assault, organizers of the "kNOw More" campaign at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln were defrauded of the money, according to police.

The organizers, who partnered with 402ink, a Lincoln screen printer, reported the fraud to police at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Advocates had raised $10,960 by selling "kNOw More" T-shirts in the wake of an alleged sexual assault at a UNL fraternity house in late August, which prompted a week of protests and sweeping changes announced by the university.

Olivia Minderman, a first-year student from Omaha and a Greek life member, launched the campaign in the tumultuous week after allegations surfaced against a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

As organizers prepared to send the money to Voices of Hope, a third party emailed kNOw More and purported to be a representative of the advocacy organization, Officer Erin Spilker said. 

Organizers, under the impression that the fraudster was affiliated with Voices of Hope, asked 402ink to wire the sales revenue to an account presented in the email exchange, Spilker said.

Later, Voices of Hope contacted the organizers and told them it never received the money, Spilker said. The fraudster used a private, non-affiliated email when contacting the screen printer.

"Recently, this 'kNOw More' organization has been coming together and doing a lot of things, trying to help out in the community," Spilker said. "And it's really just an unfortunate thing to happen."

An investigation in the fraud is ongoing.

"This is obviously a sad and frustrating situation," Dan Okelberry, who owns 402ink, said in an email to the Journal Star. "There were many people including everyone at my company and the kNOw MORE organization that were trying to do something good and scammers were able to take advantage of that." 

After news broke of the fraud Thursday morning, Matt Schur, a Lincoln resident and the music director at UNL's Lutheran Center, created a GoFundMe page to help recoup the losses on behalf of Voices of Hope. 

The online fundraiser, aiming to raise $11,000, garnered $55 in donations as of Thursday afternoon. 

NU system will mandate sexual misconduct training for students, employees
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As critics call for abolishing Greek system, members say fraternities are key to stopping sexual assaults

Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or awegley@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @andrewwegley 

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A Kansas City, Missouri, native, Andrew Wegley joined the Journal Star as breaking news reporter after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University in May 2021.

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