The Student Loans Company 'spied on' the social media accounts of estranged students and withheld funding from some with no evidence of fraud, according to a Guardian exclusive.Written by John Wimperis on 8th August 2018
Keiller Warns of Fake Fab Tickets
Following a spate of hoax ticket-buyers operating primarily on the ‘Fab N Fresh - New’ Facebook page, which has around 24,000 members, Guild President Ellie Keiller shared a post on the page to warn university students from buying tickets for events from people they do not know using bank transfers.
In the statement, Keiller said that ‘a fake profile that we have removed from the Fab N Fresh Facebook group for scamming people out of money is still active and continuing to target people’. One account, using a suspected pseudonym of Niamh Bryne, would message students looking to buy event tickets, saying ‘I saw your post I have tickets please send me payment using direct bank transfer’. However, Keiller added that ‘as soon as the money clears, the profile vanishes’.
The advice issued by the Guild through Keiller is to ‘NOT transfer funds to people you do not know’ and to be aware of the Niamh Bryne profile, though Keiller noted that this account was not likely to be used any more. Anybody affected by similar accounts asking for bank transfers is advised to report the accounts to the admins.
One UoB student, Sophie, has described her experience to Redbrick, saying ‘my flatmate, her boyfriend and I wanted three tickets for Tektu. We posted on Fab N Fresh asking if anyone was selling tickets and someone with the profile name ‘Cathy Bower’ messaged to say that she would sell three for £40. We transferred her the money and she proceeded to block all three of us on Facebook so that we couldn’t contact her.’ Like other accounts used in such cases, Cathy Bower can no longer be found on the Fab N Fresh Facebook page and has most likely been deleted by the admins.
“As soon as the money clears, the profile vanishes
Aside from these examples of fake sellers, the ‘Fab N Fresh - New’ page has also reportedly seen the sale of invalid tickets, some of which had already been used. This is particularly the case for one-off event nights in the city.
Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of fraudulent activity taking place at the university in this academic year: at the end of 2017, there were reports of a woman pretending to be deaf to gain donations in Selly Oak and near University Station.
However, the continued raising of awareness within the student community through Facebook pages like ‘Fab N Fresh - New’ has helped to warn students against such activity. This example gives hope that the actions of the wider student body will be effective in preventing the repeated scams regarding fake ticket sales from continuing into October with the annual influx of new students.