[TACRAO] Listserv Apply Texas SPAM Applications

Becki Murphy Wilson bwilson at odessa.edu
Wed Oct 25 18:27:24 CDT 2023

Hello everyone,

I was hoping to reach out and possibly find out if others especially in the Community College arena are experiencing an increase in Apply Texas SPAM Applications. Odessa College has seen an overwhelming number of these types of applications coming in via Apply Texas since about July. Since community colleges generally do not charge an application fee, we tend to be more vulnerable than those who may charge an application fee to this kind of thing. When Apply Texas still had a ReCAPTCHA in place we did not see this hardly ever. Some of the patterns we have seen are the following:

  *   Multiple new applicants using the same SSN#
  *   Applications with duplicate Social Security numbers for existing students in our system – appear randomly generated
  *   Same address, same social but with different phone numbers that are out of order when you call
  *   Random email address that relates in no way to their name or anything “cute” all mainly with @outlook.com as the ending
  *   An unusual number of applicants with obviously male names with gender as female or vice-versa – appear to be random responses
  *   More than 400 applications transmitted from Apply Texas in a  few days - we don't see this many when we are out for 2 weeks at Winter break upon return
  *   Google search of address of the red flag apps show that an odd number of the homes are For Sale or recently sold according to reputable real estate sites like Zillow, Realtor.com , Trulia, etc.
  *   Increase in applicants whose age based on DOB shows to be from 20s to 30s and yet they graduated high school in 2021, 2022 or 2023.
  *   Increased number of applicants with the exact same date of birthdate and yet ages don’t coincide with expected high school graduation age range, but not selected GED or not a graduate
  *   Many of the high schools they list as their high school are an Academy, Charter, or Christian school we are unable to verify
  *   Consistently “Out of District” or “Out of State” addresses listed but responding YES to the question about living in Texas for more than a year and YES to the custom question about living in Ector County (In-District)

I just keep thinking we can’t be the only ones out there experiencing these kinds of patterns. Is anyone else seeing this and if so, how are you addressing the issue as far as importing into your Student Information System (we are a Colleague school), while trying to maintain the integrity of the data that goes in? We had a mostly automated import process in place but have since had to back off from that in order to review data before uploading. Any thoughts, experiences, or solutions you have found that work best?

Thanks so much,

Becki Murphy Wilson, M.B.A.
Director of Enrollment Services
International Student DSO
Phone:  432-335-6431

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