Promotion ‘dupes’ campus

Students at Missouri Southern felt scammed after giving out personal information in order to receive a free Subway sandwich.

“I’m upset. I thought I would just walk in, get my free sub and be on my way. I felt kind of duped,” said Robert Moss, senior mass communications major.

On the morning of Sept. 29, two representatives of a marketing group were soliciting free Subway fliers to students on campus.

In order to receive a free sandwich, students were to bring their student ID cards to the Subway on Range Line Road between Sept. 29 and Oct. 1.

Once students arrived at the restaurant, two representatives of an independent marketing group hired by Citibank greeted them.

To obtain the sandwich, the students had to fill out a City Financial credit card application, and to obtain a drink and chips, they had to fill out another credit card application for a Commerce Bank credit card.

After filling out the applications, students had to show their student ID cards, which were digitally photographed by the representatives.

After he felt he was scammed, Moss immediately went to Southern’s Department of Public Safety to explain what was taking place at Subway.

No report was filed because the occurrence happened off campus.

Before soliciting on campus, a permit is required for any outside organization or business.

Julie Blackford, director of the student activities, said the marketing representatives did not have permission.

“We do not allow credit card companies on campus,” Blackford said. “That’s something we need to look into.”

The pink and blue fliers read, “Free sub @ Subway” followed by “Southern MO St. students only w/ student ID with participation in a marketing promo.”

No implication is given on Citibank being involved with the promotion.

Monique Canada, freshman biology major, said she thought the promotion was for Subway, possibly for a new sub sandwich.

“I felt I was lied to,” she said.

An independent marketing representative from Citibank and Commerce Bank who failed to give his name said students would not have known this was a Citibank marketing promotion.

Janice Tarter, with the public affairs office of Citibank, was not aware this was occurring. Tarter said her company does not allow the third party marketing representatives to go to schools where they are not welcomed.

She said she didn’t know why they would need to take photographs of the student IDs.

“They should not have done this,” Tater said. “We are definitely going to have to look into all of this.”

Several students thought it was odd that the representatives were doing that.

“They shouldn’t have done it,” said a tele-service representative from the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft office. “It’s not part of any credit card application. It’s pretty suspicious.”

The FTC ID Theft guide reads, “[Identity thieves] scam information from you by posing as a legitimate business person or government official. [They] can be skilled liars, and may pose as representatives of banks.”

Brenda Blalock, of the Admissions Office, suggests students who do not wish to have Southern use their Social Security number for nonspecific purposes, should fill out a form in the Admissions Office in order to receive a generic ID number. She said however, it could cause difficulties for financial aid recipients.

Those who believe they have been victims of identity theft can contact the FTC Identity Theft hotline at 1-877-FTC-HELP. After being put on a list, anytime a victim’s Social Security number is used, he or she will be contacted by the FTC for verification.

“It makes that Subway on Range Line Road look real bad,” Moss said. “[It’s] almost unethical in a way. If they want to be a positive influence on the campus of Missouri Southern, pulling students off to fill out credit card applications is not a proactive way of keeping their image.

“I think that Subway will probably not be welcome on Missouri Southern, I imagine, anymore. It gave Subway a bad reputation. If they want to have good public relations with the school, they just blew it,” he said.

Tony Sharp, manager of the Range Line Road Subway said he had nothing to do with the promotion. At the time of printing, Subway’s corporate office failed to comment on the issue.