Seton Hall student avoids Facebook scam
A Seton Hall student was featured in an NBC broadcast last week after seeking help from their consumer reports to avoid being scammed by a Facebook contest.
Sophomore Dana Spinks entered a contest on May 22 through a Facebook event advertising its main prize as a trip to the International Olympic Headquarters in Switzerland but encountered trouble once she was told that she won.
“I want to work for the Olympics in the future so the chance to win a trip to the International Olympic Headquarters in Switzerland was too good to pass up, even if it didn’t seem completely legitimate at the time,” Spinks said. “Did you know that the 23rd of June is Olympic Day?” The Facebook page sponsored by the International Olympic Committee stated. “Post text, photos, videos of yourself doing sport on the road to Olympic Day in this event page and you could win a trip to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland! BTW There are lots of other prizes to be won!”
Spinks said that in order to enter the contest she submitted a video of herself pole vaulting during a high school track meet to the main event page on May 22, but the contest did not end until June 23.
“It was advertised on the side of the homepage on Facebook and through my interest in the Olympics I decided to click on it” Spinks said.
Sometime in July Spinks got an email asking her to verify the fact that it was her in the video and that I she was over 18.
“After I responded to that I got another email about a week later saying I had won the trip and should expect another email with more details in about two weeks time,” Spinks said.
According to Spinks, at first she and her family just wanted to wait until they received more information, and when that did not come they started to get suspicious.
“We contacted NBC because we had a meeting scheduled with the people from the IOC who we had been communicating with after their meeting with NBC,” Spinks said.
“After the people from the IOC canceled on us we called NBC to find out if they had actually met with anyone from the IOC,” she added.
“They said they wanted to find out as much as they could from me while at the same time they had people working to find out more from the IOC,” Spinks said. “For a long time we couldn’t figure it out and they didn’t really know what to think either.”
According to Spinks, after her family contacted NBC they became interested in the story and said they wanted to go out to Seton Hall for an interview.
“It was pretty interesting seeing myself but honestly I was just hoping that the media didn’t make me look like an unintelligent college student who had gotten herself into a mess on the internet,” Spinks said about being on television.
“I’m really glad they didn’t portray me like that. So many people saw it, my phone was ringing off the hook,” she added.
Despite the struggle with the IOC not finalizing plans with her until NBC got involved, Spinks will be going to Switzerland from Nov. 7-10.
They’re going to pick me up at the airport in Geneva and bring me to the hotel,” Spinks said.
She will have one day of travel, one day at the museum, one day at the headquarters and another day of travel courtesy of the IOC.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.