As the holiday season approaches, scams are on the rise, and scammers really, really want your money and are willing to prey on the season’s must-haves including concert tickets.
My sister and I are not alone in that we were “almost” the victim of a Taylor Swift scam late last night. Thankfully, we figured it out before any money changed hands.
My sister texted me late last night to tell me that a childhood friend’s Facebook page showed she had four tickets available to an upcoming Taylor Swift show in 2024 in Indianapolis. The “friend” was looking to sell two or four tickets for face value at $400 each.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, isn’t that how the saying goes?
My sister traded some messages via Messenger with the alleged friend before reaching out to me to see if I might be interested in going with her. The seats were pretty great, and the cost was much less than resellers had been asking: $1,200-$1,500 a ticket.
My sister asked me, “Do you trust her?”
I told her I did, as she had been to my house a few years ago, and we regularly chatted via social media. She had even wanted to attend my dad’s funeral a couple years ago, but if I recall, their family had been hit with COVID around the same time.
My sister was excited to think about the concert – 11 months away. She had seen Taylor Swift in Nashville this summer.
The “friend” offered to transfer the tickets via Ticketmaster once the transaction was complete. They said they didn’t have Paypal, but their “colleague” did, and provided the colleague’s email address.
I think the use of the word “colleague” should have raised a red flag, but I still pushed forward. My friend works at a local bank, and I thought it was possible she had purchased the tickets with co-workers.
Without thinking, I logged into Paypal and attempted to send $1,600 to the email address provided by my “friend” using the friends and family option – which I’ll point out, has no protection unlike other Paypal transactions.
Thankfully, Paypal stopped me, saying that it wanted me to login to my bank account using a third party to ensure that the funds were available. I had never been asked to do that before and was hesitant even though I generally trust Paypal.
I messaged my “friend,” who said something along the lines of “oh, yeah, I forgot about that,” before asking me to break up the payment and send several smaller transactions instead.
Hmmm. Something about that didn’t sit right with me.
Instead, I offered to bring her cash to her home in Augusta County or the bank where she worked. The alleged friend replied: “I don’t need the cash. That’s why I asked you to send through the app.”
For the first time, I realized the person I was corresponding with was not likely my friend after all.
I asked the so-called “friend” how we knew each other, and the conversation went silent.
I talked to my sister by phone and shared the disappointing news. She felt bad because it was her idea to buy the tickets. Thankfully, we figured it out before I lost any money.
I reported the post as a scam to Facebook and posted a comment on her post that it was fake. The scammer, of course, then blocked me, and deleted my comment.
They didn’t block my sister who also went back and reported the post to Facebook as a scam.
I also texted my friend late last night to let her know about the fake post on her account.
Taylor Swift ticket scams are nothing new
In 2023, a number of people were also scammed for tickets at Taylor Swift shows, including Atlanta and Nashville.
The hackers normally provide screenshots of real tickets which the scammer also offered to provide me for “proof” that the tickets are real.
Some ticket buyers figured out they had been scammed after the conversation ended after payment was sent. Others didn’t learn the hard truth until they arrived at the venue, and their tickets didn’t work at the gate.
Scams often start on social media – Instagram and Facebook – in verified groups or via hacked friend accounts. After the money is sent, the buyer is usually ghosted or blocked entirely.
Payment requests are generally made via Zelle, Venmo or Paypal which transfers funds instantly.
The Better Business Bureau reports they received complaints throughout the U.S. ranging from fees to refunds to outright scams related to the Swift tour.
“Your tickets are never delivered, electronically or otherwise, because they never existed,” the BBB said in a WRTV news story. “And worse, if you use a digital wallet app to pay, you’ll unlikely get your money back.”
It’s easy to see how it could happen to anyone. If you do a quick search on Google for “taylor swift ticket scams,” you’ll see a lot of people lost money due to complicated scams.
With more sophisticated scams every day online and with people you know (without their knowledge), before getting your hopes up, let me offer some advice. A simple question might save you a lot of headache. In my case, asking how we knew each other saved me a big loss right before the holidays.
BBB: How to avoid a Swiftie scam
- Only buy tickets from trusted vendors. Even if you can no longer get tickets directly from the venue or Ticketmaster, look to reputable ticket brokers before doing business with a ticket scalper or someone on social media.
- If you think you know the seller, double-check. Scammers may hack your contacts’ accounts and pretend to be a friend or acquaintance who’s selling tickets. Before sending money, contact your friend directly to make sure the deal is real.
- Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals. If someone claims to be selling tickets to a sold-out concert just before the date or at an amazing price, think twice. Scammers love to prey on fans of any artist or sporting event by claiming to have impossible-to-get-tickets for them.
- Use good judgment with advertisements. Some ads are scams, whether after a general internet search or in your social media feed. Be careful about clicking through and offering up personal information.
- Use your credit card. Credit cards generally offer extra protection in case you find out the tickets were a sham. You may not get your money back if you pay with your debit card, a cash transfer app or cash.
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Published date: October 5, 2023 | 3:03 pm