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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Jackson Man NOT Arrested For Hacking College Computer And Returning All Funds to Students Since 2010

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 05 Sep 2018 15:17:43 Z)

Did a man from Jackson, Mississippi hack into college computer to give all students since 2010 a refund? No, that's not true, some joker uploaded a random mugshot to a prank website, added a good headline and the story went viral. Unfortunately for those suffering from student debt overload, none of it is real. The article fail to mention which college it is about and no real news sources have reported on it.

The story originated from an article published NSFNews on September 4, 2018 titled "Jackson man arrested for hacking a college computer and returning all funds to students since 2010" (archived here) which opened:

A Jackson Ms man is facing charges for hacking into an administrators computer at a college campus and refunding all payments made by students since 2010. Those payments include tuition, books, housing, and meal plans. More on this story tonight at 10.

Screenshot of https://www.nsfnews.com/5b8ea8e312074/jackson-man-arrested-for-hacking-a-college-computer-and-returning-all-funds-to-students-since-2010.html

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Jackson man arrested for hacking a college computer and returning all funds to students since 2010

A Jackson Ms man is facing charges for hacking into an administrators computer at a college campus and refunding all payments made by students since 2010. Those payments include tuition, books, housing, and meal plans. More on this story tonight at 10.

The site that published the story is a prank website where users can submit their own headline, description and photo to create realistic looking prank news articles.

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Users don't even need to upload their own image, there is a built-in search function that will pull an appropriate image from Google image search.

The site is part of a larger network of prank sites all using the same basic layout but sometimes in different languages. It appears to be run by a Belgian company named Mediavibes or Media Vibes which is managed by a man named Nicolas Gouriou according to registration records.

Each site in the network comes with a disclaimer (sometimes translated into a different language) that reads:

This website is an entertainment website, jokes are created by users. These are humourous jokes, fantasy, fictional, that should not be seriously taken or as a source of information.

So don't fall for this prank now that we've warned you about it!

We wrote about nsfnews.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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