My Personal Experience As A Victim Of Cyber Ticket Fraud.
I bought tickets for the Father’s Day Billy Joel concert at MSG. Tickets were sold out within hours, so I resorted to a second-hand source: Craigslist. Quickly I found a man selling two tickets for $145 a piece. We negotiated through texts and phone calls and after finding out he had two extra tickets, settled on $400 for the four tickets so that two friends could come along. I brought my wife and friends into the city and met this 20 year-young man several blocks from Madison Square Garden. He told me he had the tickets because he won them in a raffle, which sounded like a legitimate reason at the time. We exchanged cash for tickets. Much to my (now our) dismay, the tickets set off the scanner at the front gates reading “Invalid!” A cyber ticket fraud robbed me.
After visiting the police station to file this case, I realized that I would have to find out this kid’s name, travel across town to a different precinct, and take him to small claims court. After possibly winning that, I would be forced to collect the money myself. Basically, for all of this hassle, it wasn’t even worth it at this point- my money was gone. Instead, I’m writing this article to prevent this from happening to you, my fellow Internet travelers. Through the multiple mistakes I made in the process of acquiring these tickets and in speaking with the police, I learned of several different ways to avoid cyber ticket fraud:
1. Go the extra mile
Never settle on the basis of trust between you and the seller. On many second-hand sites, sellers are not verified and you have no clue who is on the other side of that computer screen.
2. Ask for photo I.D.
Just to test the waters, simply ask the seller to see his personal identification. This can work either two ways: 1.) He will show it to you, and you can see his name and address in case he scams you or 2.) He will refuse to show it to you, in which case you have the right to be skeptical of his salesmanship.
3. Contact the primary ticket distributor
Ask your seller for information about the ticket, such as a serial code number encrypted on the ticket. With this information, you can contact the legitimate major company- such as Ticketmaster- to verify this is a valid ticket that won’t get you turned away at the door. It is possible, however, that this seller won’t provide this information in case you are the thief, although we know you’re not.
4. Meet right outside of the venue
My biggest mistake was meeting elsewhere. By meeting right by the gate, you can verify your ticket. Say you will purchase one ticket, and check to see if it works at the gate. Proceed to buy the rest if it does. Or, since this is your money we’re talking about, bring the seller with the tickets to a gate or the box office and have them validated. This way it is a guarantee.
5. Don’t buy stuff like tickets on Craigslist.
Only use Craigslist for physical items that give you exactly what you pay for. For items like tickets or other service-granting items, it is much safer to use a legitimate company like Stub Hub, which can guarantee the purchase through buyer’s insurance. Spending the extra money is worth the protection.
As Internet users, we are all together in protecting each other from abusers like the thief that fooled me. This happens on many occasions, sometimes resulting in the robbery of tens of thousands of dollars from innocent concertgoers. Well really, would-be concertgoers. Here is a link to a major case, in which multiple individuals acquired almost $1 million in cyber-ticket fraud sales: Major Cyber Ticket Fraud.
If you have a cyber theft story, share it with us here. As Internet users and consumers, we deserve to know the most about what we’re paying for.