Tulsa Police issue 'on-line' ticket scam warning

Wednesday, December 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A warning to folks trying to buy tickets for the Sugar Bowl. Tulsa Police's Cybercrimes unit says be on the look-out for ticket scams.

Two Tulsa families already lost hundreds of dollars after buying tickets online. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright looks at what you can do to protect yourself.

You can tell if a family is Sooner loyal by looking at their Christmas tree. One Tulsa family clearly has its priorities straight. "We've had season tickets for 12 years, we've been there through the good and the bad."

Naturally, Gary's family wanted tickets for the Sugar Bowl, they found a deal on eBay to buy the nine tickets they needed for $200 a piece. To be safe, they decided to pay for only six of them upfront and asked for the seller's name and address.

"I actually looked up the name on Google and the phone number checked out and the address checked to the phone number and name and everything."

In his email, Gary made it clear this was his family's entire Christmas. The man responded, I am not scamming you cause I am an honest man. Internet trade is built on trust and despite best efforts, it's hard to know who's telling the truth.

Sgt Tim Stadler, Cyber Crimes unit: "There is really not a good way except go there in person or have a third party verify the person has the tickets and they're not bogus."

Gary says he ignored his gut instinct that something was wrong, but in the rush of Thanksgiving get-togethers, went ahead and wants others to learn from his expensive experience. "We definetely don't want anybody else to be scammed like us. Watch for those inner feelings and listen to em."

Gary still plans to cheer on his Soooners. His kids, who attend OU, got tickets through the school, so they still plan on making it a family trip. "This is a family deal. We went to the Rose Bowl last year, the Big 12 game last year, Big 12 this year, so we'll go this year, we're just not sure we'll get inside the gate."

eBay says the man who took Gary's money had stolen the account and identity of the real user, it's since been shut down.

Some on-line auction sites offer protection if you pay through them rather than wiring the money directly to the seller. If buying something like tickets, have them fax you a copy of the tickets and their driver's license or have them email you a picture of them holding the tickets. You could try COD, where you pay once they're delivered, but often you're not allowed to open the box before you hand over the money.

A Tulsa car dealership recently got taken for a $58,000 car it was selling online, so even very smart, careful people can be victims.