In the land of the lost, Owl Cards used and abused by … students?

Rosella LaFevre learned more about people’s moral codes after her Owl Card flew away.

Rosella LaFevre learned more about people’s moral codes after her Owl Card flew away.

The day I lost my Owl Card was the worst day I’ve had in a long while. After a laundry list of unpleasant experiences, I collapsed onto a couch near the Johnson and Hardwick residence halls’ front desk to console a friend whose day had been equally painful. Sometime between this crying session and opening the door to my dorm room, I lost my Owl Card.

rosella lafevre

The minute I realized it, I went back down to the couch to check all the cushions and beneath it. No card. I asked at the front desk and at the security desk. I called my friend to ask if she had it. She did not.

Worried about my missing Owl Card and unsure of what steps to take, I slept fitfully. It wasn’t until the next morning when I checked my Diamond Dollars account online that I learned someone had picked up my card and spent $11.68 at 7-Eleven a half hour after I’d lost it.

It was not until I got to the Diamond Dollars office and filled out a form to get a new card that I was told I should have reported it stolen to the Temple Police.

Something, I thought, should be done to prevent students from using Owl Cards that did not belong to them. It is not OK to spend the money of a student who has lost her card, and the places across campus that accept Diamond Dollars should work harder to protect the students’ money.

To my knowledge, no other vendor that accepts Diamond Dollars works to ensure that the cards that students use are their own. Of course, the Diamond Dollars office appears to blame the students who, like me, are the victims.

“[The theft of Owl Cards] does not happen that often,” Suzanna Thornton, an administrative specialist in the Diamond Dollars office, said. “Most of the students lose them.”

Lost cards are usually returned to the Diamond Dollars office where e-mails are sent to the cardholders so they know to pick up their Owl Cards. A friend of mine has lost her Owl Card three times and has received e-mails and Facebook messages from people who have found it.

Not everyone is as conscientious.

When I went to reclaim my money, the management at 7-Eleven agreed that action must be taken to prevent Diamond Dollar theft.

When I went to have my money refunded, the manager asked a cashier to refund my money and to tell the rest of the cashiers to check state IDs and drivers licenses with Owl Cards for Diamond Dollar purchases.

One of the cashiers asked why, and the one who refunded my money answered, “Because too many are using cards that aren’t theirs.”

“Can’t we just check the picture?” the first cashier said to this.

“No, check state IDs,” the second cashier said.

I was content with this measure that would protect all of us from possible theft, but I’m pretty sure 7-Eleven has failed to keep the policy running on a consistent basis. Likewise, I haven’t seen many vendors – some of which attract long wait lines – take an extra beat to look at the students’ face before hurriedly swiping an Owl Card.

But what’s the worst thing about all this? If sales people do take the time to look up and the Owl Card and customer don’t match, there’s no guarantee they’ll say anything to the fraudulent Owl Card holder. The fault line in this Owl Card saga begins to crack when a dishonest person assumes another’s identity.

Rosella LaFevre can be reached at


  1. Rosella,
    I am sorry to hear about the problems you had with the loss and fraudulent use of your OWLcard. I would like to make sure every cardholder is aware of several things:
    1. If you lose your card, you can suspend its use online 24/7 at our website; 2. All vendors are required to visually verify the cardholder using the card. I know this doesn’t always happen, but by contract, they are responsible to do this. If the card is used (as it was in your case) where we can prove it was not you that made the purchase, the vendor will refund the funds;
    3. If you report a stolen card to campus police, request a report number and we will not charge you for a replacement; and
    4. When found OWLcards are turned into our office, we email the student and allow two weeks for them to pick up the card before properly disposing of the card.

    If anyone has any questions, they should feel free to email us at

    Scott Brannan
    Director, Diamond Dollars

  2. I work in an office on campus and we find owl cards, cell phones, keys, and flash drives all the time. I’ve sent I don’t know how many emails to people who never respond. But to be honest I’ve known more people that contact the person who lost their owl card or flash drives especially more often than hear about people using it for themselves. So I wouldn’t say this is a trend. Sucks it happened to you though.

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