Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

A Breach In Security?

A picture of David for Copper giving his presentation

On February 2nd, 2023, Sylvia Oldroyd was sitting in her zoology class at Timpview High School. The typical curriculum involves the anatomy and adaptations of various fauna, but this day was much different. In the middle of class, a man appeared at the door. He introduced himself as a representative of the banking app “Copper”, and informed the substitute teacher that he was there to give a presentation on financial literacy. The substitute, being completely unfamiliar with the school, agreed to let him present. But the presentation was incredibly odd.

David, the presenter, informed his audience that with Copper, they could receive free money. In the age of digital scams, this immediately set off a few students’ internal alarms. However, despite his questionable claim, David finished his presentation and went on his way.

On February 9th, one week later, David presented to an AP calculus class. During this particular presentation, he was accompanied by another representative for Copper. Whenever he was asked a question and was unable to respond, his partner promptly answered for him. My informant in this classroom told me that they had assumed the presenter was new to the job, but whether he was or not, the presentation was odd. Once again, the representative promised the students “free money”, and even had them sign up for the app during the presentation. My informant did so, but, with the power of common sense, they signed up using false information so that the devious duo could not steal their banking information. However, this did not stop David from trying. He kept asking them to have their parent approve them signing up, and would not drop the subject, even though it was clear the student wasn’t particularly interested.

As one would assume, news of this scammer spread throughout the school. Students informed their friends about the strange presenter and his fake app, and by the time he was presenting on Friday, February 10th, he was a known scammer.

On the aforementioned day, David from Copper (his last name is currently unknown to me), presented to Ms. Stone’s class. Hyrum Forstrom, a junior at Timpview High School, was immediately skeptical of the visitor’s pitch.

“The guy came in and was talking about financial literacy and most of the stuff he was talking about was mirrored in the financial literacy class…but he said that we all needed to download this app (and that) the first four people to download it would get free money and whenever I hear ‘free money’, I expect it to be a lie.”

This account clearly matches Oldroyd’s account from more than a week earlier, but Fortrom continued.

“He said for every question we answered, we’ll get more free money…and every time we did this app would give us free money or at least that’s what it said on the screen. My friend said that in one of her classes, she got fifty-four dollars but she could never transfer any of it to her actual account.”

Forstrom knew that this was a scam, as did his friend who received the $54, and a peer of his–senior Lili Wilson.

Earlier that week, Wilson had been informed about the presentation by her younger brother. He told her it was a scam, but since she, “never believes him anyway”, she decided to give David and Copper a chance. However, a few minutes into the presentation, she immediately knew something was off. Someone had asked where Copper gets free money to just give away, to which David responded with, “We get our money from TikTok.” Having heard from others before this that Copper got its money from “investors”, she knew that David was lying. In addition to that, he was being extraordinarily cagey. He would give vague answers to questions any representative should know. These observations, accompanied by the warning from her younger brother, Wilson’s alarms were raised, and she promptly asked to use the restroom and then left.

The next thing Forstrom knew, the presenter was being escorted out of Ms. Stone’s classroom, with the brief explanation, “Hey everyone, this guy isn’t approved to talk to you yet.” He later learned that the person responsible for reporting the scammer was Ms. Wilson.

After asking to be excused to use the restroom, Wilson went down to the main office. She was asked what the secretaries could do to help, and she explained that she found it odd that the school would approve an obvious scammer to speak to students. One of the secretaries was alarmed at this statement, and the secretary, with Wilson in tow, found a male administrator to remove the intruder.

From the perspective of an office assistant, this story is much the same. My informant tells me that they were sitting in the office when a concerned student, Wilson, came in and explained her cause for worry. The ladies in the office were taken aback and began to ask her questions. My informant and the other office aids corroborated Wilson’s story, explaining that they had seen the man and heard his presentation. The administration then sent someone to apprehend the scammer, and soon after David from Copper appeared in the office to return his visitor’s pass. When asked how a guest could receive a pass multiple days in a row, my informant explained that David claimed he was “meeting with teachers”, and this is a common explanation for visitors as many students from BYU come to observe teachers.

This is a very strange and silly story. It is the type of thing I would tell my kids in twenty years to get a good laugh. But despite how funny it may seem, the connotations are much darker. The fact that the office was surprised by the information that a potential scammer was loose on campus shows that his presence at the school was not only an attempt to swindle minors but a completely unauthorized one at that. That’s right, dear Timpview students. This man wandered around campus for two weeks giving presentations on a scam without the knowledge of the administration. Additionally, despite him taking up valuable class time, not a single teacher thought to report this to the admin. They all assumed that this man who was clearly scamming children out of their money must have been approved by the school, and did not question him or his intentions with their students.

What I believe to be the most disturbing detail of all is that David was wearing a visitor’s pass. This man, through deception, was able to take complete advantage of a visitor pass and remain on campus for more than a week without any question about his intentions, whereabouts, or even identity. All he had to say was that he was “meeting with teachers”, and that was a good enough explanation for the office. Believe me when I tell you, reader, that had this man been hiding a weapon and a thirst for blood, some of your peers could be dead today–all because of the administration’s carelessness.

But a weapon is not the only threat this man could have wielded. Had his intentions been wicked, he could have purveyed any number of horrifying acts. This man could have planted a bomb on campus, killing tens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of students. He could have placed cameras in a student locker room and exploited the vulnerability of minors. Or he could have hidden in a restroom and waited for a lone student, only to assault them.

What “David from Copper” (in quotes because I am not entirely sure that is even his real name) did was the best outcome the students, teachers, and administrators could have hoped for. A few kids likely lost some of their hard-earned money, but that is nothing to the loss of their life.

This story proves the incredible lack of security at our school. This man entered the school, obtained a guest pass through devious means (multiple days in a row, mind you), gave deceitful presentations in multiple classrooms, and stayed on campus for over a week without being caught or questioned. And, even once he was caught, the man was escorted off campus, without any police interference. Even now, over two days after this man was asked to leave, the vast majority of students and parents are living in ignorance about the dangerous situation that has just transpired. For the last few days, I have been endlessly scanning the weekly announcement emails from Principal Tu’ua, the timpview_t_birds Instagram page, and the school and district websites for any information on this scandal. Anything informing parents of the danger, anything telling teachers to be wary of any unknown presenters, anything asking students to avoid downloading Copper, anything declaring that an increase in security will be seen at the school. But there has been nothing. No information. No questioning of students. No informing of parents. Just an incompetent administration that seems to be sweeping a potentially dangerous situation under the rug.

Opinions of this situation are fairly split. Wilson is unsure of what to make of the situation, and my informant in the office left me with the following quote: “I don’t think it’s the office people’s fault. I mean he’s a scammer so he’s going to scam his way in anyway.” This is a valid point, but between the fact that he obtained a guest pass multiple days without proving his intentions and that a student is who eventually turned him in, I disagree.

This situation ended as well as it could have, but consider the implications it has for the future. We now know that anyone who obtains a guest pass can wander freely about the school without question, meaning that should they attempt to do something devious, they will likely get away, and the office will have minimal–if any–information about them.

For me personally, this situation has made me feel completely unsafe at school. I am now wary of presenters, wondering if they are potential scammers that lied their way into the school. I am afraid of going to the restroom or locker room during times of low capacity–what if a “visitor” is abusing their access to the school and waiting for me to be alone and in a vulnerable position? Or, worst of all, what if every parent, teacher, and student’s worst nightmare come true, and a school lockdown becomes not just a threat, but a reality?

While the infiltration of Timpview by representatives of Copper ended as well as it could have, it should strike fear in the hearts of everyone in Provo City School District. It was not only easy for “David” to enter the school, but he was able to remain there for over a week. In one week, how much money was Copper able to steal? Additionally, when given a full week to fulfill their goals, what other deranged actions could an infiltrator partake in? This situation has truly disturbed me and made me question what other devious individuals are at large in public schools not only in Provo but across the nation. In the day of school shootings, the ability of any dishonest individual to enter a school should be nearly impossible, and yet this situation not only occurred but has been hidden from parents and taxpayers alike.

In fear for my life, the lives of my peers and teachers, and the lives of future students who attend public schools, I demand action be taken to right this wrong and ensure the safety of all American students.

View Comments (6)
More to Discover

Comments (6)

All Thunderbolt Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • L

    LaurelJul 10, 2023 at 9:53 PM

    We should all transfer.

  • S

    SydneyFeb 21, 2023 at 9:35 AM

    I never learned about this guy. When my friends sent me texts about it, I would just ignore it. I had a bad feeling about it. “Free money!” But I always knew about “free money.” So I never got it.

  • J

    Jennyyy MFeb 20, 2023 at 11:31 PM

    not me yelling out to him cause i dont have a phone “ILL EMAIL YOU FOR FREE MONEY” lolll im going to tell this to my kids one day

  • J

    Jane DoeFeb 17, 2023 at 12:03 PM

    I think its funny tbh

  • G

    Genevieve MathewsFeb 15, 2023 at 12:38 PM

    Totally agree. Nobody should be able to enter the school with a guest pass without proving intentions. It’s scary that anyone could come into school, get a guest pass, and possibly have bad intentions. I hope the administration takes this situation seriously and takes initiative to make school a place students are not fearful to enter.

  • I

    Isaac W.Feb 15, 2023 at 10:25 AM

    Judging from this article, and the Provo City School District Policies (7060 P2: Classroom Visit Procedure, to be specific) it would seem that for someone like “David” to get a visitor’s pass and be allowed to present to students, all they would need to do is contact the principal or a designee with a believable lie. It may be possible that they simply lied at the office about their need for a guest pass, but it appears most likely they would go through the principal, and potentially only the principal, in some form. Guests like “David” would not require any supervision from administration, and it does not appear that teachers would have to be notified, and the “guest” could legally enter any class that isn’t in active testing. It would be amazingly easy for someone to craft a believable lie to infiltrate and potentially cause damage to the school, its staff, and its students.