Avoiding Freshers Facebook Scams
The definitive guide to avoiding Facebook scams in the lead up to Freshers week
A string of posts on unofficial Freshers’ Facebook pages have advertised fake or risky events, putting prospective students at risk of losing their money, being subject to fraud, and missing out on the official events programme attended by thousands.
Facebook is one of the first ports of call for new university students, as it offers an opportunity to interact with other applicants and to arrange Freshers’ activities. The danger arises where both scammers and genuine promoters set up ‘Unofficial’ groups, as these are not moderated by the Union and are often used by fake accounts trying to sell tickets to alternative or simply non-existent events.
In some cases these sites may actually sell tickets to official or real events, but these will often be at inflated rates so that the creators can profit from freshers.
In a warning to University students one first year took to the popular student forum 'the Student Rooms' and said:
"I've just finished my first year and wanted to give a bit of advice to you."
"Be careful of the Facebook groups for freshers. Check the description to see if it's affiliated with the University before joining. I made the mistake of joining a couple of bogus ones last year and got majorly ripped off with them selling tickets to crap events. Avoid the Ice Breaker at all costs. It's nothing like they make it out to be and honestly, you can have a much better time [on an official event]."
"Also, don't post your room numbers or accommodation on these groups. The admins accept anyone so it can cause some problems with crime. The official Facebook groups which are set up by the Union are much safer as they are checked against student lists."
So, how do you avoid these scams and Fake Facebook pages? Here are our top tips:
Be advised by the Union
- We'll keep this page updated (below) with the latest known scam, fake and unofficial Facebook pages so if you are ever unsure then double check here.
- We only promote and advertise official events that have been rigorously tested to ensure they are safe, student only and the best experience in the city.
- We have three main nightlife partners in the city - Eskimo11.com who run our official events in venues across the city, the Lyberry Bar who are our official bar partner on Guildhall Walk, and the Astoria who are our official Nightclub Partner also on Guildhall Walk
Shiny graphics, no substance
- A clear tell for these fake groups is often shimmering graphics, fake admin accounts featuring stolen photos, and lots of exciting words but often they have no venue listed, start time or ticket information
- Often these groups start as something enticing to build a fan base and then change their name - last year the biggest con was a fake 'Puppy Petting' page which launched at every University in the UK and turned out to be a data harvesting exercise
Give me all your data
- Never ever give out your personal data unless you are purchasing a ticket via a legitimate ticketing platform
- Dodgy sites use Google Forms in general to harvest your data and provide no benefit to you
- Most of them are likely to be in breach of data protection regulations and put your personal security at risk
Not sure what's endorsed and safe and what's not, here's our handy list of official communities:
Some of the pages above are operated by our events partner Eskimo11.com
Now, here's the list of pages, groups and events that we think might not be legit or have no association with the University or Students' Union:
- Portsmouth Freshers - This page appears to be operated by a single nightclub in the city. It's probably legitimate but you'll only experience on nightclub.
- Portsmouth Freshers Guide - This page has stolen photos from the Students' Union to make it look legitimate. It's got no relation to the SU.
- Portsmouth Freshers 2018 - 19 - Remember what we said about shiny graphics above. Here's a good example. See Cosmopolitan's view here on their F*ck me it's Freshers.
- Portsmouth Freshers 2018 - We're not sure about this group, we think it might be linked to a small single venue in the city. It's not affiliated with the University or Union we know that!
- Portsmouth Freshers 2018 - What an original title. This page claims to be 'official' and they've even put the University logo on - it's not!
- UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH FRESHERS 2018 - Full of memes and no substance. This won't help you with Freshers at Portsmouth.
- Portsmouth Freshers Fortnight - Operated by the Portsmouth Freshers Guide outlined above, this event also stole photos from us to make it look legitimate.
- Portsmouth Freshers Week 2018 - We're not sure how a company that brings one event to the city can claim responsibility for a whole week.
- Portsmouth Freshers 2018 - When an event launches with "Click Interested for full info" you know it's got to be click bait!
- Portsmouth Freshers Week 2018 - Nope, despite it's claim there's nothing official or #1 about this event we don't even think it's actually an event.
- University of Portsmouth Freshers Welcome - When the event says 'more details coming soon' you know it's not legit.
- Portsmouth Freshers Week September 2018 - Made by a marketing network for all University cities
- FreshFest Portsmouth - Remember we said about dodgy Google Forms. Here's one. Don't fill it out!
- Portsmouth University 2018-19 - Operated by the Portsmouth Freshers Guide outlined above, this group also stole photos from us to make it look legitimate.
- University of Portsmouth 2018-19 - This group is very clear it's not affiliated so props to them!
- University of Portsmouth 2018-19 - Run by exactly the same people as the last group - why have one when you can have two groups of student data. This used to be a 2017 group.
- University of Portsmouth 2018-19 - Wait, another group by the same company as the last two. Make that three groups!
- University of Portsmouth 2018-2019 - No, sorry, make that a fourth group by the same company. Wow they are keen!
- Portsmouth Freshers 2018 - We think this community is run be a single nightclub venue in the city
- University of Portsmouth Freshers 2018 - Having stolen a photo of the University Library as their choice of imagery we've convinced this is a fake.
- Portsmouth Freshers 2018 - This was a 'Zoo Party' promotional page for 2017
- University of Portsmouth 2018-19 - Trust us, Portsmouth graduates don't wear white graduation hats. This is not a legitimate group.
- Portsmouth Uni Freshers 18 - HiJack operate events at TigerTiger but they are not officially linked to the Students' Union or University
Confused? So are we, that's why we recommend sticking with the 4 groups at the top of this section.
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