Thousands of students across the UK have been scammed by fake Facebook events linked to Cardiff based club promoters, Electric Ents.
A whole host of pages advertising fake events across student cities in the UK have been illegally eliciting personal details from students under false pretenses.
One event that drew a huge amount of attention from students was ‘University Wipeout’ – based on BBC One’s game show ‘Total Wipeout’, it promised an obstacle course of ‘inflatables and plenty of prizes’.
The event instructed those who were interested in taking part to ‘pre-register’ by signing up on a Google docs form and giving their full name, date of birth, email address, phone number and university.
There is evidence to suggest that these events are part of a wider network of Facebook pages designed to collect personal details from students.
Last month Radio 1 revealed that a Facebook page titled ‘Bring Radio 1 Big Weekend To Your City’ was in fact a scam.
The page included a statement, at the head of each city specific page, purporting to be from a Radio 1 representative. This read: “We have decided to try let the Radio 1 BIG Weekend be chosen by the public instead of the heads of the BBC.
“We are doing a competition between key cities that we think deserve the Radio 1 BIG Weekend and whoever has the highest number of attendees by December 1st 2015.”
Further pages have emerged since, including campaign page ‘No More Student Fees’, ‘I’m Going to University 2015’ and ‘Open Air Cinema’.
Students have also noted a number of these pages using ‘bait and switch’ marketing techniques. Students are lured in with promises of exciting activities and prizes only to find that the event details have later been changed to completely different events after thousands of students have clicked attending.
News broadcast group Get Current revealed that the illegal practice could be traced back, via the sign-up pages, to the same user account – ‘christianunicribs’.
‘Uni cribs’, or University Cribs, is a student property site set up earlier this year which is registered to the same address as Volt Marketing Ltd.
The account has also been linked to Christian Samuel, listed as managing director of Volt Marketing Ltd, director of Open Air Cinema and Electric Ents.
Despite speculation, the company has denied that the events were part of a data mining scam.
In light of the revelation, a petition has been set up online urging students to sign in support of an alternative charity event.
The petition, which wants to ‘create a positive out of a negative’, claims that it ‘exists as a proposal to Cardiff University that the event should go ahead in support of the Children’s Trust’ and ‘harness everyone’s enthusiasm about these events for a good cause’.