3 On Your Side

Consumer Alert: Beware of barcode fraud

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Phoenix is pretty hot when it comes to professional sporting events. Not only do we have four major sports teams, but there are also big ticket artists and other events that are always going on. But if you want to attend one of these venues and you're buying tickets from a third party, be careful.

In a previous 3 On Your Side reports, we showed you how Shannon Wicker and her family were duped when they thought they bought authentic Taylor Swift tickets.

"The guy looks down and it's making a beeping sound and he scans it again and 'oh, I'm sorry. These tickets are invalid you have to go to customer service window.'"

But ticket scams seem to be getting worse. Why? For the answer, we went to Ticket Lobster, a licensed ticket agency run by Will Furniss.

"Because of the bar codes."

Yep, barcodes. Think of them like "fingerprints," there is only one unique bar code per ticket per seat, for every venue.

But here's the problem, scammers are duplicating that barcode and reselling them, and honest consumers are making it easy.

3 On Your Side surfed the internet looking for tickets that were for sale and look what we saw people doing. They were photographing their authentic ticket -- the Sun Devils, the Coyotes and the Cardinals -- with the entire barcode just ready to be duplicated by a scammer.

As a security measure, 3 On Your Side smudged out the bar codes we found, but you get the idea.

Furniss added, "If you're showing the bar code and the barcode is legible all the way through, then those tickets can be duplicated and that becomes a problem."

In fact, the Arizona Cardinals  sent out emails alerting folks to not even post selfies on social media showing themselves holding upcoming football tickets.
"Don't post pics of your tickets online with the barcode showing before the game happens," the team warned.

Furniss used an expired ticket to show us how it works.

"You would copy this barcode and put it on there and boom your in the game."

Ticketmaster and Craigslist are among those that have posted warnings about fake or counterfeit tickets.

Furniss believes the Cardinals barcode alert is a good idea. 

"Is this the world we're living in now? Yes it's going to become more so in the future."

For additional information regarding barcode fraud, we've posted the following links: 




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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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