Vancouver police warn regarding recent ticket scam

Every year before and during playoff time, we get people complaining they’ve been defrauded after they’ve tried to purchase tickets in person or over the Internet.

Many people answered Internet ads and trusted complete strangers over the Internet.

After looking into the frauds, most of these are international frauds where fraud suspects are located in a different country, making prosecution extremely difficult, if not impossible.

In the majority of the incidents, buyers are asked to use Western Union to transfer money to the ticket seller. 

Fraud victims believe they are being diligent by using the Internet to research the name and address of the person they are sending the cash, believing they can send the police to the exact same address if the deal goes sour. 

The problem is that fraud suspects are savvy to this and will give a false name and address they find on the Internet. 

They have the victim send the cash using the false name, and once the money is sent they ask the victim for the wire transfer number and walk into the money transfer office in that country and use their own name to pick up the cash. 

Although the money is sent to Joe Smith in New York, someone using a different name and location in any country could pick up the cash as long as they have the wire transfer number.

Last year, one fraudster pretended to be a realtor located in California. The fraud suspect used the name of an actual realtor, with the name and address, so if the fraud victim tried to verify the name he would think he was dealing with a legitimate person. 

The suspect made up a story that his business had season tickets in Vancouver and wanted to sell playoff tickets on Craigslist; he asked the victim to send money and then he would send the tickets. 

He mentioned that PayPal guaranteed the money and it would be held in trust by PayPal until the victim received the tickets and then the money would be released to the seller. 

The catch to this scam was he told the victim to send the cash to a person who worked at PayPal by using Western Union instead of using PayPal. 

Once Western Union was used the suspect was able to intercept the money anywhere there was a Western Union office after he received the money transfer number from the victim.

We also discovered another fraud suspect in England who placed an ad on Craigslist. 

He or she pretended to be a flight attendant that was at the Vancouver airport on a quick layover.

The phony flight attendant said that they purchased playoff tickets for a Vancouver game and was unable to attend because they were assigned a different flight. 

They mentioned a legitimate British courier service that is similar to FedEx and that this service would hold onto the victim’s cash in trust until they were couriered the hockey tickets, assuring the buyer that there was no risk. 

The catch again was that they told the victim to send the cash via Western Union to a person who worked at this courier company. 

Once the cash was sent via Western Union, he asked the victim for the money transfer number and, again, was able to intercept the cash from any Western Union office in England with the money transfer number. 

We want to remind everyone looking to purchase playoff tickets, whether you’re local or not, purchase tickets from legitimate ticket resale business and not from a stranger on the street or over the internet.

Unless you are purchasing the tickets directly from a legitimate business using a credit card, we will not be able to recover their monies if you send anything via a money transfer service.

If you do, you’re taking your chances and could be out a lot of money.

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