CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Students at Coastal Carolina University say they were targeted on Instagram by someone looking to get their personal information all while claiming to work for a popular company. An Instagram account under the name "PINK_CCU" claimed they were Victoria's Secret's college student brand ambassador program.
Victoria's Secret has a well-known college student ambassador program through their company at over 100 colleges across the nation. However, officials for both CCU and Victoria's Secret say they are not affiliated with each other at all.
Students say the person running the account went by the name "Jess" and claimed to have just launched this program at CCU and promised to send out gift cards up to $5,000 to home and email addresses.
The account also asked women if they wanted to participate in a contest which required five pictures of them in their bra and underwear.
According to the women targeted, they were also sent pictures of a woman in Victoria's Secret underwear as an example of what her favorite undergarments were.
They say they were told even more money would be rewarded in a new "giveaway" that would require girls to send pictures of themselves wearing only Victoria's Secret lingerie.
Brent Reser, the social media and online marketing coordinator for CCU, has some advice on how to approach this situation if it were to ever happen in the future.
"Well first, I'd tell the students to look at the actual profile page and make sure there is a valid web address that takes them to the company's website that shows that it's legitimate," Reser said. "Then I have them just look at the post themselves and ask themselves, 'Does this look like something the university group would put out?' I know some students I talked to they saw the graphics, they saw the posts, and they knew right away it was sketchy and it was a hoax."
Alyson Lung, a senior at CCU, was one of the many female students targeted by this Instagram account. Like many others, she initially fell for the hoax.
"The Instagram I got tagged in by a friend, so I think that's how they got popular so fast. They kind of targeted girls, Coastal students, specifically girls. They would say in all their captions and pictures "girls only" or "Coastal students only," Lung said. "I mean, every girl loves Victoria's Secret. We're college students, we don't have enough money to go shopping at Victoria's Secret. The fact they were targeting Coastal is that we don't have the ambassador program here and all the girls have been waiting for Coastal to finally bring that to the campus. So I think all the girls were so excited."
Nothing seemed odd until the account asked for her home address to mail e-gift cards, something that doesn't require a physical address.
"I was like, something's not right here, and I don't like giving my home address out to people. It just didn't seem normal, and that's when both my roommate and I were like maybe we should look into this," Lung said. "You never know who's going to show up at your door or what's going to show up in your mailbox. I think it should be more of a focus for people targeting these accounts because really serious things can happen, especially naive college students. It's pretty dangerous out there,"
The account was deleted this weekend before CCU was notified about the hoax. University officials say if something like this were to happen again, people should contact the corporate headquarters and also contact CCU.