3 On Your Side

Mom buys $400 in fake Taylor Swift tickets

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Hailey, 9, was thrilled to be going to Taylor Swift's concert. (Source: Shannon Wicker, 3TV) Hailey, 9, was thrilled to be going to Taylor Swift's concert. (Source: Shannon Wicker, 3TV)

Taylor Swift is no doubt one of the most popular artists around these days. She recently performed here in the Valley and like all her concerts, it was a sell out.

Shannon Wicker knew tickets to Swift's 1989 World Tour would be expensive, if not impossible to find. Still, she wanted to surprise her 9-year-old daughter Hailey with a concert of a lifetime.

She went to the Internet.

"I went to Craigslist and found someone who had tickets," Wicker told 3 On Your Side. "I decided to text message them to see if they still had the tickets available and he said they did."

The seller said the tickets were not the paper tickets printed on a regular sheet of paper.  Those tickets can be duplicated countless times and are often sold by scammers. 

The tickets this seller had were "hard tickets."

Wicker met the seller at a Chick-Fil-A in Surprise and handed over $400 for two Taylor Swift tickets.

Wicker even snapped a photograph of her daughter Hailey smiling ear-to-ear as she held the concert tickets in her hand just moments after buying them.

Little Hailey said she couldn't wait to to go to the concert because she's Taylor Swift's biggest fan. 

"You know, she [Taylor Swift] knows how to play piano and the guitar," the young fan proudly said of her favorite artist.
But when Hailey and her mother arrived at the concert, there was big disappointment.  

"So, we get there and they go to scan our tickets and the guy looks down and it's making a beeping sound and he scans it again and he says, 'I'm sorry, these tickets are invalid. You have to go to the customer service window,'" Wicker recalled.

Wicker's tickets were marked invalid and confiscated.

Ticket broker Will Furniss said he's not surprised.

"Usually, someone selling you a bad ticket will want to meet you at a Circle K or maybe a 7-Eleven,  someplace that is non-traceable," he said.

Furniss has been a ticket broker for 20 years and owns a reputable company called TicketLobster.com. He knows the ins and outs of spotting fraudulent tickets and shared some tips to keep consumers from getting ripped off.

First, offer to meet the ticket seller at their home or work. 

"Work would be preferred because if you go to where they work at, they're not going to sell you a bad ticket and then have you come back and cause a problem," Furniss said.

Next, snap a picture of the seller's license plate and ask him or her to take a picture of his or her driver license.  Don't think you're being impolite making the request.  

"Most people don't have a problem with that," Furniss said. "If they do have a problem with that, then it may mean the ticket is no good."

Finally, Ticketmaster has a security feature that leaves a black mark if you scratch it. If you see a black scratch mark after rubbing your thumb nail across the ticket, the ticket should be legitimate.

That last tip can be side-stepped by the crook though. That's because authentic tickets can be reported as lost and all the scammer has to do is ask for new tickets to be reprinted. The scammer then resells the original tickets that don't have a valid barcode anymore and are rendered useless. Consumers never know the difference until you present the tickets at the venue.

There's a good chance that's what happened to Wicker and her daughter. They both say they're done buying tickets off the Internet.

"I wouldn't recommend Craigslist to anyone given my last experience," Wicker tells 3 On Your Side.  "It's been a very bad expensive lesson to learn."

Copyright 2015 3TV (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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