University of Miami student used stolen credit-card accounts to pay tuition, cops say

Zhaosen Zhang
Zhaosen Zhang - Miami-Dade Corrections

A University of Miami student was jailed Thursday on accusations he used stolen credit-card numbers — to pay for tuition.

Zhaosen Zhang, 22, an international student from China, was charged Thursday with felony counts of grand theft and identity theft.

The University of Miami, a private university in Coral Gables, is not cheap. The school estimates that for the 2019-2020 academic year, tuition will cost a little over $50,000 for an undergrad student. On-campus housing, books, meal plans and other fees can add another $20,000 in expenses.

How did the school find out about Zhang?

A woman called UM when Zhang, in October, used her credit-card number to pay $6,527.62 in tuition, according to an arrest warrant. She did not know Zhang and never authorized him to use her account.

It isn't always easy to tell if your personal information has been stolen for fraudulent purposes or your accounts have been compromised. Here are some common signs that you might be a victim of identity theft.

The school began reviewing Zhang’s payment history and noted he had tried to use credit accounts in someone else’s name to pay for tuition four times, but the banks had rejected the attempts, according to an arrest warrant. He succeeded in using a stolen card on one other occasion, according to a warrant prepared by UM Police Detective Thomas Carrigan and cyber-crimes prosecutor Stewart Hedrick.

The school reported the suspicious credit-card use to University of Miami police, who arrested Zhang on Thursday morning at his off-campus apartment. He remained jailed Thursday afternoon.

David Ovalle covers crime and courts in Miami. A native of San Diego, he graduated from the University of Southern California and joined the Herald in 2002 as a sports reporter.